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THE MEAN IN 
DREAMS 




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Medical Library 

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in 2010 with funding from 

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THE MEANING OF DREAMS 



MIND AND HEALTH SERIES 

Edited by H. Addington Bruce, A.M. 

THE 
MEANING of DREAMS 

BY 
ISADOR H. CORIAT, M.D. 

FIRST ASSISTANT VISITING PHYSICIAN FOR DISEASES OF 

THE NERVOUS SYSTEM, BOSTON CITY HOSPITAL 

INSTRUCTOR IN NEUROLOGY, TUFTS 

COLLEGE MEDICAL SCHOOL 



" Dreams are the true interpreters of our inclinations; 
'but great skill is required to sort and u/nderstand them." 

— MONTAIGNB. 



NON-REPERT 




pqWYAD ♦ Q3S 



BOSTON 

LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY 

1915 



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Copyright, 1915, 
Bt Little, Brown, and CoMPAirr. 



All rights reserved 



PubHshed, May, 1915 



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Set up and electrotyped by J. S. Gushing Co., Norwood, Mass. , U.S.A. 
Presswork by S. J. Parkhill& Co., Boston, Mass., U.S.A. 



E. D. C. 



EDITORIAL INTRODUCTION 

IN accordance with the purpose of this 
series to extend knowledge of the im- 
portant discoveries affecting individual 
and social welfare that have been made 
during recent years through psychological 
investigation, the present volume surveys 
the principles and results of scientific dream- 
analysis along the lines first formulated by 
Doctor Sigmund Freud, of Vienna. Though 
Freud's views are by no means those of all 
medical psychologists, and have indeed 
been vigorously criticized by not a few, 
there is general agreement that he has 
rendered a real service to both psychology 
and medicine by his demonstration of the 
practical value of dream-study. Certainly 
no one has more thoroughly investigated 

vu 



EDITORIAL INTRODUCTION 

the mechanism of dreams, and all future 
explorers of this phase of the mental life 
of man will owe much to his pioneering 
efforts. 

To be sure, it must also be said that most 
medical psychologists at present beUeve 
Freud has erred in attempting to reduce 
all dreams to a single formula. Certainly, 
however, his formula holds good in a sur- 
prisingly large number of instances, as the 
reader will discover. And, apart from the 
question of its invariability, there can be 
no denying the soundness of the funda- 
mental principle on which all Freudian 
dream-analysis rests — the principle, namely, 
that every dream, no matter how trivial, 
fantastic, or meaningless it may seem, has 
a definite meaning, and a meaning that 
sometimes is of great significance to the 
dreamer. 

Consequently a series like the present 
one would be incomplete without a detailed 
survey of dreams from the Freudian stand- 

viii 



EDITORIAL INTRODUCTION 

point. For this task Doctor Coriat is well 
qualified. Few American physicians are as 
familiar as he with the doctrines and meth- 
ods of Freud, or have applied them so con- 
sistently in the treatment of nervous and 
mental disease. He has had an extensive 
clinical experience, having been for some 
years connected with the Worcester State 
Hospital for the Insane, and afterward with 
the Boston City Hospital, with which he 
still is associated. He is a member of many 
scientific, medical, and learned societies in 
America and Europe, is one of the editors 
of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, and, 
besides having written many technical pa- 
pers on nervous and mental disorders, is 
the author of a valuable textbook on " Ab- 
normal Psychology." In that work, as in 
this. Doctor Coriat draws on his own expe- 
riences to illustrate and reinforce the more 
important points in his exposition. 

H. ADDINGTON BRUCE. 



IX 



PREFACE 

THE new psychology of dreams, as 
elaborated by Freud, represents 
one of the greatest advances ever 
made in our knowledge of the human mind 
and of human motives. For abnormal psy- 
chology, dream-analysis can be compared 
only in importance with the discovery of 
the origin of species and of the factors of 
organic evolution in the field of biology. 
The analysis of dreams is not only of great 
theoretical value in the understanding of 
the unconscious but has its practical side 
as well, in giving medicine the most potent 
instrument which it has ever possessed 
in' the treatment of certain functional 
nervous disturbances. 

xi 



PREFACE 

.This volume is written along piu^ely psy- 
cho-analytic lines, and every dream therein 
has been personally analyzed by the author. 
Its aim is to give the general reader an out- 
line of the meaning of dreams as elaborated 
by the psycho -analytic school, with its ap- 
plications to medical science, in particular 
to that method of psychotherapy known as 
psycho-analysis. Because of the great dif- 
ficulties inherent in the subject of dream- 
analysis, only the basic principles have been 
given, the details being left for the special 
treatises and journals on the subject. 

ISADOR H. CORIAT. 

Boston, February, 1915. 



xa 



CONTENTS 



OHAFTEB PAOB 

Editorial Introduction . . . vii-ix 

Preface xi-xii 

I. The Problem of Dreams ... 1 
II. An Example of Dream-Analysis . 13 

III. Dreams as the Fulfillment of 

Wishes 43 

IV. Dreams and the Unconscious . . 57 
V. The Mechanism of Dreams . . 66 

1. THE CONTENT OF DREAMS 

2. CONDENSATION OF DREAMS 

3. DISPLACEMENT IN DREAMS 

4. ELABORATION OF DREAMS 

5. DREAMS WITHIN DREAMS 

6. SYMBOLISM OF DREAMS 

7. THE CENSOR AND PSYCHICAL RE- 

PRESSION 

VI. The Function of Dreams . . 96 
VII. Dreams of Children and of Primi- 
tive Races 106 

xiii 



CONTENTS 

OHAPTEE PAOB 

VIII. Typical Dreams ..... 121 

IX. Prophetic Dreams .... 141 

X. Artieicial Dreams .... 153 

XI. Dreams and Nervous Diseases . 164 

Index 193 



XIV 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

Chapter I 
The Problem of Dreams 

EVERYBODY dreams, and every 
dream means something, no mat- 
ter how fragmentary and ridicu- 
lous it may appear. It may be symbohc 
of something deep-seated in the personal- 
ity of the dreamer, or it may indicate 
something trivial, but in every case, the 
dream has a meaning, which can only be 
discovered through an analysis of the dream 
itself. It is the purpose of this book to 
describe such analysis of dreams in simple 
language. 

The various psychological theories of 
dreams have ascribed their origin to physi- 

1 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

cal and organic stimuli which pour into the 
brain during sleep. In the light of modern 
investigations in the field of psycho-analysis, 
this view-point has been proven to be too 
superficial, because such an interpretation 
does not explain, for instance, how an un- 
covered foot may at one time give rise to 
a dream of freezing to death amid Arctic 
snows, and on another occasion, in the 
same individual, lead to a dream of being 
bound hand and foot before a gigantic 
electric fan as a form of martyrdom for 
some religious belief. The central prob- 
lem of dream psychology, therefore, must 
answer the question as to why the dreamer 
interprets the physical or organic stimulus 
as he does, and why the same stimulus 
often gives rise to widely different types 
of dreams. 

The theory of dream formation as elabo- 
rated by Freud does indeed admit that 
external stimuli may often enter into the 
complex machinery of the dream, but only 

2 



THE PROBLEM :0F DREAMS 

as an instigator or starter of the dream, in 
much the same manner as the self-starter 
of an automobile, which throws all the 
cylinders of the motor into action. The 
real makers of the dream, however, accord- 
ing to psycho-analysis, are certain uncon- 
scious mental processes. The psycho- 
analytic view-point goes a step further and 
shows in addition how the unconscious and 
ofttimes latent mental process may be 
transformed into a most complex dream 
by means of certain well-known dream 
mechanisms. Therefore, any stimulus, — 
physical, organic, or ideational, — is merely 
the instigator or activator of important 
mental processes in the formation of the 
dream. We must emphasize the term 
"important", since no dream ever deals 
with trifles, but only with subjects of great 
personal interest to the dreamer. 

Because the dream undergoes such an 
elaborate transforming process, it must 
conceal within itself not only the uncon- 

3 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

scious thoughts which actually give rise 
to it, but also all the stimuli, physical or 
mental, which have thrown these mental 
mechanisms into activity. Therefore, the 
dream must be deciphered or analyzed in 
order to be understood. The deciphering 
of a dream is one of the functions of psy- 
cho-analysis, which, in its broadest sense, 
may be defined as that method which, 
without the use of hypnosis, investigates 
human motives and the content of the 
unconscious. 

Such an analysis demonstrates that while 
on the surface the dream may appear to be 
a weird, absurd, and disconnected phan- 
tasmagoria, yet the unconscious thoughts 
which give rise to it are arranged in a logical 
order and have a definite purpose in the 
protection of the mental well-being of the 
dreamer. The dream, therefore, is a sym- 
bol of certain mental processes, and as 
will be demonstrated later, it represents 
the fulfillment of a wish which for years 

4 



THE PROBLEM OF DREAMS » 

may have lain dormant in the unconscious.^ 
This is why the dream is so important a 
factor for a proper understanding of human 
personahty, normal and abnormal, and for 
a proper interpretation of human character. 
The dream has likewise a genetic meaning 
and can be used to interpret the uncon- 
scious desires of both the race and society. 
A man's motives and character cannot 
be judged by his conduct or his speech, 
because his conduct may conceal his inner 
feelings, or the conventionalities of modern 
civilization may have taught him to sup- 
press and thus rationalize his real emotions 
and desires. In the true interpretation of 
man, the psycho-analysis of dreams comes 
to our rescue. Dreams are not the dis- 
ordered phantasmagoria of a partially sleep- 
ing brain, but are logical and well ordered, 
and conceal within themselves our true 

1 The term "unconscious" is used in this book, not in the popu- 
lar sense of loss of consciousness, but as meaning mental processes 
of which we are not aware, but of which we may become aware in 
dreams or through certain technical devices. 

5 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

wishes and desires. The dream reveals 
the true inner man, his various motives 
and desires, hidden from the view of others 
and often hidden from his own conscious 
thoughts. Consequently, when rightly in- 
terpreted, dreams are the real key to the 
riddle of human life, because through them 
the door is unlocked to our unconscious and 
our real selves. The unconscious is our 
true self, not our conscious thinking, with 
its rationalization of all our mental pro- 
cesses. 

The dream may also use popular and even 
strange phrases in its symbolism, reminding 
one strongly of punning and witticisms. 
In fact, Freud's theory of wit is based upon 
the same mental mechanism as that of 
dreaming. For instance, a woman had 
the following dream. She seemed to see 
a fair-haired child, resembling the Cupid 
which appears on Valentines and with a 
pink scarf about the body, sitting on an 
elephant and driving it. The analysis of 

6 



THE PROBLEM OF DREAMS 

this apparently absurd dream was most 
interesting. Two types of instigators of 
the dream could be determined : a physical 
one, some pictures of recently acquired 
elephants at a Zoological Garden; and a 
mental one, a desire to buy Valentines for 
some children. In this woman there was 
a strong wish for motherhood, which for 
certain reasons was difficult of fulfillment. 
She felt that if she had a child at her period 
of life it might be a great burden to her. 
Therefore, the unconscious deliberately 
picked out the elephant as an instigator, 
because it served its purpose as a pun, — 
namely that a child might be "an elephant 
on her hands." 

Thus "the interpretation of dreams is, 
in fact, the via regia to the interpretation 
of the unconscious, the surest ground of 
psycho-analysis, and a field in which every 
worker must win his convictions and gain 
his education" (Freud). Dream interpre- 
tation, even in a practical, so-called 

7 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS^ 

materialistic state of society, is not a form 
of interesting and idle scientific play, but 
a practical method of the utmost impor- 
tance, since it gives us an insight into the 
inner nature of man, into his real motives 
and desires, into his unconscious mental 
life. 

From the period of the earliest Baby- 
lonian records up to modern times, a belief 
in the interpretation and the veracity of 
dreams, particularly in foretelling the 
future, was possessed by the mass of people. 
The popular point of view has always been 
that a dream is a symbol and has something 
of importance concealed within it, and this 
hidden meaning, often cryptic, can be in- 
terpreted. For years psychologists have 
held the opinion that the dream was a 
senseless grouping of ideas which ran ram- 
pant in the brain of the sleeper, claiming 
indeed that the sleeping brain was incapa- 
ble of any form of logical thinking. There- 
fore, dreams became mere curiosities, not 

8 



THE PROBLEM OF DREAMS 

worthy of study by any intelligent individ- 
ual. On the one hand we were confronted 
by the superstitious and the prophetic 
value ascribed to dreams which existed 
for centuries and on the other by the psy- 
chological skeptic. 

The year 1900 is one of great significance 
for psychology in general and for the psy- 
chology of dreams in particular. In that 
year, the Viennese neurologist, Doctor Sig- 
mund Freud, first published his ''^ Traum- 
deutung'' ("Interpretation of Dreams")? a 
work of profound erudition and represent- 
ing years of study and close observation. 
This work opened a new vista in the inter- 
pretation of dreams and of the unconscious 
mental life, and so epoch-making was it 
that it made all previous attempts in this 
direction seem almost absolutely worthless. 
In it Freud showed for the first time that 
the dream was of great importance psy- 
chologically and was really the first link 
in the chain of normal and abnormal 

9 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

psychic structures. For the first time, too, 
there was opened a certain road to the 
explanation of unconscious mental pro- 
cesses, processes which are admitted to- 
day to contain the greater portion of human 
personality. As a result of these investi- 
gations the dream became divested of the 
triviality ascribed to it by the academic 
psychologist and the superstition which so 
long had held the masses of people and 
been portrayed in the popular dream-book. 
Dream mythology had become a genuine 
dream psychology ; the dream was no longer 
the "child of an idle brain, begot of nothing 
but vain fantasy." The dream had be- 
come of practical importance, on the one 
hand to the psychologist in interpreting 
unconscious mental processes, and on the 
other to the physician, in giving him for 
the first time a method for the clear under- 
standing of such abnormal mental states 
as phobias, obsessions, delusions, and hal- 
lucinations. The dream had become the 

10 



THE PROBLEM OF DREAMS 

real interpreter of normal human life and 
of abnormal mental mechanisms, and 
through the elaboration of the psycho- 
analytic method which was made possible 
through this new dream psychology, the 
dream had also become the most potent 
instrument for the removal of the symp- 
toms of certain functional nervous dis- 
turbances. 

Thus the '' Traumdeutung" has come 
to occupy the same central and important 
place for abnormal psychology as the 
"Origin of Species" did for biology. 
Through the researches of the active 
workers in the field of psycho-analysis, 
certain modifications have crept in and are 
continuing to creep in, the same as in the 
later work of De Vries and Mendel for 
evolution and the origin of species, with- 
out, however, in either case changing the 
fundamental principles as set forth by the 
original discoverer. 

The technique of dream-interpretation is 

11 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

most difficult. A dream of an instant may 
require dozens of pages for its proper inter- 
pretation, thus showing how condensed a 
product the dream is. Without training 
in neurology and psychiatry, and without 
an accurate knowledge of Freud's theories, 
one cannot hope to succeed in dream- 
analysis, which is the basis of the psycho- 
analytic treatment of the neuroses, any 
more than one can do a complicated 
chemical analysis without training in the 
elements of chemistry. 



12 



Chapter II 
An Example of Dream- Analysis 

IT is best to take as a starting point 
in explaining dream-analysis the in- 
terpretation of an ordinary dream, 
thus paving the way for a clearer under- 
standing of the psychology of dreams and 
the various mental mechanisms which en- 
ter into their formation. To interpret or 
analyze a dream means to find out its inner 
and often hidden meaning, to collect the 
thoughts or mental processes which have 
produced the dream and out of which the 
dream is constructed. 

Only a portion of the analytic procedure 
can be described, and since dream-analysis 
is an art as well as a science, a considerable 
knowledge of psychopathology is needed 
as well as long experience in dream-inter- 

13 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

pretation. In fact, the analysis of dreams 
is a highly technical procedure, and like 
other technical methods, must be fully 
learned and mastered before it can be 
adequately handled as an instrument to 
penetrate the deepest and most significant 
aspects of our thoughts. No amount of 
reading can make a psycho-analyst any 
more than one can expect to paint por- 
traits by reading how to do it. 

For certain reasons I shall choose the 
following dream of a medical friend, which 
was dreamed in the late morning and 
written down immediately on awakening, 
thus making its recollection exceedingly 
accurate, as it was particularly vivid and 
intense. This dream I was given the oppor- 
tunity to analyse fully. It will be noticed 
that while the dream is short, the analysis 
occupies many pages. This is a fact of 
great significance which will be subse- 
quently explained in detail. As in all 
dream-analysis, there were opened up 

14 



AN EXAMPLE OF DREAM-ANALYSIS 

certain data of exceedingly intimate re- 
lationship, which led into places where 
discretion was needed. Thus for personal 
reasons, these mental processes cannot be 
mentioned, while other data which it may 
be necessary to disclose will be more or 
less disguised. These omissions do not, 
however, in any way invalidate the pur- 
pose of the analysis which we wish to em- 
phasize : namely, a study of the various 
dream mechanisms. 

THE DREAM 

My friend seemed to be in the dining- 
room at the home of Doctor and Mrs. X. 
From the room the entrance-hall could be 
seen. Mrs. X. was there and looked per- 
fectly natural, while Doctor X. appeared 
to be sitting on the edge of a leather-covered 
chair. Doctor X. appeared changed, how- 
ever. In place of a short moustache, it 
seemed that he had grown a beard resem- 
bling the beard of the dreamer ; he appeared 

15 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

rather thinner than usual, while his hair 
was silky and of light tow color. The 
three appeared to be talking earnestly and 
intimately about some subject which the 
dreamer was unable to remember. In the 
midst of the conversation, the front door- 
bell rang. Doctor X. went to the door, 
and as he was leaving the room, Mrs. X. 
remarked: "That is a rabbi; we don't 
want any more rabbis in here." 

Then she dived suddenly under the table 
as if to hide, crouching low in a most un- 
dignified manner, entirely out of keeping 
with her usual dignified behavior, and 
motioned to the dreamer to hide in a closet. 
Doctor X. came back and with a smile 
said: "It wasn't a rabbi; it was a 
package." Then all resumed easy conver- 
sation. Doctor X. then remarked that he 
was not going to Europe this year on 
account of the war and added: "Have 
you read Wells's 'The World Set Free' .^" 
My friend replied that he had read it 

16 



AN EXAMPLE OF DREAM-ANALYSIS 

shortly after publication and added that 
it was remarkable how Wells had so 
clearly predicted in the book many of the 
events of the present European war. Then 
Doctor X. replied : ''Yes and the Holland 
dikes or dams — and they are going to 
erect a monument to the Prince of Lum- 
bago." 

Now what does this nonsensical, appar- 
ently meaningless dream signify, and how 
did this conglomeration of ideas come into 
the dreamer's head ? What was the mental 
process that produced the change in the 
personal appearance of an intimate friend, 
and made a dignified young woman act 
and talk in such a curious manner ? What 
was the meaning of the ridiculous phrase 
"the Prince of Lumbago .^" What was be- 
hind the dreamer's thought that prompted 
him to put the remark about rabbis in 
the mouth of the young woman ? At this 
point a brief preliminary statement, even 

17 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

at the risk of later repetition, becomes 
necessary. 

The success of a psycho-analysis of a 
dream depends upon the subject whose 
dream is analyzed. He must tell every- 
thing that comes into the mind concerning 
each element of the dream and not sup- 
press or brush aside an idea because it 
appears unimportant or of no significance. 
No association that arises is too trivial 
for the analysis; everything is essential. 
In other words, the attitude of the sub- 
ject towards his dream must be purely 
objective; he must, in cold blood, as it 
were, dissect the dream into its component 
parts. This is best done in a quiet, rest- 
ful position and with the concentrated 
attention on each dream-element. This is 
merely a brief outhne of the procedure of 
dream-analysis. The finer technical points 
and the interpretation of the symbolism of 
dreams, for reasons of space and because 
of the special difficulties involved, cannot 

18 



AN EXAMPLE OF DREAM-ANALYSIS 

be discussed here. It is important, how- 
ever, to point out that dreams make abun- 
dant use of symboHsms to disguise the 
latent thoughts producing the dream, and 
these symbols have the same general 
meaning in all dreams because they belong 
to the unconscious thinking of the human 
race. 

Toward this procedure there will arise 
the natural criticism that then a dream 
can be made to say almost anything; it 
can be twisted and distorted at random. 
This, however, is not so, for the free asso- 
ciations employed in dream-analysis are 
really not free. They are no more due to 
chance than the falling of a stone is due to 
chance. In the physical world both speed 
and direction of falling objects are brought 
about by the inexorable law of gravitation. 
So in the mental world, ideas apparently 
chosen at random are subject to a definite 
law. The thoughts do not come haphazard. 
The free associations brought forth in the 

19 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

analysis of a given element of a dream are 
produced by the same mass of unconscious 
thoughts as create the particular dream- 
element under examination. 

When one thinks voluntarily of a number, 
for instance, we find on analysis that the 
number which occurs is not a voluntary 
product, but determined by thoughts of 
which the subject is not aware, i.e. un- 
conscious thoughts. Thus the number, 
like the apparently free association, is 
motivated by unconscious thoughts. An 
example of this apparently random or 
"chance" choosing of numbers occurred 
in the following dream : A woman dreamed 
that she was counting nickels used for 
telephoning and found that she had nine, 
counting them in three's, as, three — six — 
nine. How is this all to be explained? 
Were the numbers in the dream of acci- 
dental occurrence, chance figures, an arbi- 
trary choice, or were they caused by ideas 
unknown to the consciousness of the 

20 



AN EXAMPLE OF DREAM-ANALYSIS 

dreamer? An analysis of this dream re- 
vealed the concealed mental feelings of 
the woman and demonstrated that re- 
pressed memories, pushed out by conscious- 
ness because painful, revealed themselves 
in these apparently chance numbers. Thus 
she had been married twelve years (nine 
plus three equals twelve, the end numbers 
of the counting process) and at the end of 
nine years certain domestic difficulties with 
her husband entered into her life, rendering 
her very unhappy. This difficulty occurred 
three years ago. Furthermore, she won- 
dered if her husband would give her the 
annual birthday gift, as her birthday was 
approaching on the twenty-seventh day of 
the month (nine times three equals twenty- 
seven) in which the dream occurred. 

In a like manner, if attention be f ocussed 
on any particular element of a dream, and 
everything that comes into the mind be 
related without criticism, it will be found 
that the incoming thoughts brought to 

21 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

the surface are directly or indirectly re- 
lated to the specific dream-element. There 
is no free choice in the ideas which appear ; 
there is a rigorous relation of one idea to 
another. This relationship is called deter- 
minism. 

On this theory of determinism the psy- 
cho-analytic procedure is based. Further- 
more, there is a remarkable similarity in 
the dream-interpretation of the dreams of 
different individuals. In fact, certain so- 
called "typical dreams" in various in- 
dividuals, — which nearly every one has 
dreamed, — such as the dream of being 
clothed in insufficient clothing, or the dream 
of the death of a near and dear relative, 
can all be traced to the same unconscious 
thoughts. This could only take place if 
there were a psychical connection between 
the apparently random thoughts. The 
collateral thoughts, too, in dreams of the 
same type, lead to the same inevitable 
conclusion. Furthermore, in the similar 

22 



AN EXAMPLE OF DREAM-ANALYSIS 

technical method of the association tests/ 
the reply given to a certain test word is 
only superficially at random. There exists 
here, as in the free association procedures 
of dream-analysis, a deep connection be- 
tween the test word and the reply. Our 
conscious motives and our conscious 
thoughts, whether these latter occur during 
our waking life or in dreams, are motivated 
or caused by the unconscious. 

Of course every dream cannot be fully 
interpreted, because the resistance which 
produced the distortion of the dream may 
likewise be at work in the analysis. One 
form of resistance is the unwillingness of the 
subject to give free associations, as in the 
frequent remark: '' I can't think of anything 
else." In discussing the psychology of 
dream activities, Freud states as follows:^ 

"It is in fact demonstrably incorrect to 

^ For an account of the association tests see my "Abnormal 
Psychology " chapters iii and iv, 2nd edition New York, 1914. 

2 "The Interpretation of Dreams," p. 418. (In this and sub- 
sequent passages from Freud, Brill's translation is used.) 

23 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

state that we abandon ourselves to an 
aimless course of thought when, as in the 
interpretation of dreams, we relinquish our 
reflection and allow the unwished-for idea 
to come to the surface. It can be shown 
that we can reject only those end-presenta- 
tions that are familiar to us, and that as 
soon as these stop, the unknown, or as we 
may say more precisely, the unconscious 
end-presentations immediately come into 
play, which now determine the course of the 
unwished-for presentations. A mode of 
thinking without end-idea can surely not be 
brought about through any influence we can 
exert in our mental life; nor do I know, either, 
of any state of psychic derangement in which 
such mode of thought establishes itself." 

With these prehminary statements, which 
are absolutely essential to a clear under- 
standing of dream-analysis, we will now 
proceed to the analysis of the dream itself.^ 

1 The dream-elements, as they appear in the analysis, are 
given in italics. 

24 



AN EXAMPLE OF DREAM-ANALYSIS 

THE ANALYSIS 

Doctor X. was an old school and college 
friend of the subject and on taking his 
degree had specialized in surgery, while the 
subject had specialized in internal medi- 
cine. The subject had known Mrs. X. only 
since her marriage, and when he first met 
her, not only he but others had remarked 
on her Semitic appearance. Doctor and 
Mrs. X. had both planned to go to Europe 
that year, but on account of the outbreak 
of the European war, the trip would prob- 
ably have to be postponed, although the 
subject had not heard definitel}^ from them 
for some time, as he had left town for a 
summer holiday. The subject also, in the 
earlier part of the year, had thought of 
making a European trip, but had post- 
poned it and had remained in America at 
the urgent request of his family. 

Dining-room at the home of Doctor and 
Mrs, X, 

25 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

The subject did not care much for the 
summer resort for the reason that while 
the food was abundant, he found the cook- 
ing rather tasteless. He had frequently, 
while there, expressed the wish to return 
to the city, and had often, partly in jest 
and partly in earnest, said that he would 
like to be in town before the supply of 
foreign foods, of which he was fond, had 
been exhausted. Doctor and Mrs. X. had 
often given delightful dinners at their home, 
and at these dinners many excellent dishes 
were served. Therefore, this portion of 
the dream becomes clear. It expresses the 
fulfillment of a desire to be in the city again 
with its excitement, rather than endure the 
dull routine of the country; and also the 
wish to have again a dinner at the home of 
Doctor X. in place of the tasteless food of 
the summer resort. Dining-room also sym- 
bolized intimacy, since less intimate friends 
would be received in a drawing-room. 

Doctor, X. appeared changed. In place 

26 



AN EXAMPLE OF DREAM-ANALYSIS 

oj a dark moustache, it seemed that he had 
grown a heard resembling the heard of the 
dreamer. 

The subject in the dream had given 
Doctor X. one of his own physical charac- 
teristics, namely, a beard. He had often 
thought and impressed it upon Doctor X., 
and indeed the latter had himself remarked 
that he wished he had had a better training 
in internal medicine, as this would be of 
material help to him in surgical diagnosis. 
In the dream, one of the attributes of the 
internist, namely the beard, is given to 
Doctor X., the part in this, as in many 
dreams, standing for the whole. Thus the 
wish for his friend to have increased knowl- 
edge of internal medicine is fulfilled in 
this part of the dream. He is given part 
of the subject's mental equipment — in 
the guise of a physical characteristic. 
He appeared rather thinner than usual. 
Doctor X. had grown rather corpulent 
within the last few years, and had vol- 

27 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

untarily, within the last year, materially 
reduced his weight through diet and 
exercise. The dreamer thought that this 
change was for the better, as he had often 
felt that his friend was too stout for his 
health. 

His hair was silky and of a light tow color. 
The day before the dream, the subject 
had visited a boy's camp situated in a high, 
mountainous district, and, as a physician, 
he was impressed with the splendid physical 
condition of all the boys there. He saw 
several boys with light, tow-colored hair, 
the same color as Doctor X.'s hair in the 
dream, the color of hair being that usually 
seen on dolls. Doctor X. had not been 
well of late ; in fact, for a time he was rather 
nervous and sleepless. He thought that he 
could improve his health by reducing in 
weight and going to a gymnasium. In 
the dream he is given one of the attributes 
of a successful return to health, the physical 
attribute which characterized some of the 

28 



AN EXAMPLE OF DREAM-ANALYSIS 

healthy boys, namely, tow-colored hair. 
Again we see the fulfillment of a wish and 
the part of a dream standing for the whole. 

The recent experiences of the day before, 
which have been woven into the dream, are 
termed dream instigators. Thus, although 
the instigator was at first sight of insignifi- 
cant importance, it became a part of the 
dream, because the experience was one of 
psychical significance for the dream itself. 
In other words, the "tow-colored hair" 
was selected from a mass of recent experi- 
ences because it fitted exactly into the 
principal function of the dream, namely : 
its wish fulfillment that the doctor be in 
better physical condition. Thus the re- 
cent memories as well as older memories 
are treated the same way in the dream, 
because both served the wish-fulfilling pur- 
pose of the dream. 

The putting of light hair on the head of 
a man whose hair is dark, and of a beard, 
when in reality no beard exists, is caused by 

29 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

two important dream mechanisms called dis- 
placement and condensation. These mech- 
anisms have a definite purpose in unravel- 
ling the meaning of the dream. The 
displacement gives the individual the at- 
tribute of a wished-for physical strength 
(symbolized by the light hair) and of a 
better knowledge of internal medicine 
(symbolized by the beard). These two 
attributes are condensed in the one individ- 
ual, the figure of the doctor. This con- 
densation is produced in the dream by a 
fusion of traits belonging to two different 
individuals, thus making them more prom- 
inent and thereby reinforcing two divergent 
but friendly wishes. A certain similarity 
is therefore expressed in the underlying 
thoughts (termed the latent content) which 
gave rise to the dream, and these were 
fused for the purpose of reinforcement 
in the dream as related (called the manifest 
content). The ability to see the entrance 
of the dining-room, the closet, and the 

30 



AN EXAMPLE OF DREAM-ANALYSIS 

leather chair, all of which objects and situa- 
tions do not exist in reality, are also in- 
stances of displacement for the purpose of 
expressing the wish, as will be shown later, 
of an intimate friendly relation : i.e. — 
the house is topsy-turvy, and yet they 
receive outsiders; who can these outsiders 
be but relatives or intimate friends ? Thus 
''Dream displacement and dream conden- 
sation are the two craftsmen to whom we 
may chiefly attribute the moulding of the 
dream." 

The three appeared to be talking earnestly 
and intimately, 

A wish to retain friendship, so that this 
easy and intimate conversation might be 
continued, with the good times incident 
on friendship and a sense of feeling 
thoroughly at home in another's house. 
The subject had left town without saying 
good-by and while away had not even 
written a postal to his friends. He won- 
dered if this would in any way minimize or 

31 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

jeopardize his friendship and hoped that 
it would not. Therefore this, as well as 
other parts of the dream, represents this 
wish as fulfilled and still present. 

Mrs, X. remarked: " That is a rabbi: we 
donH want any more rabbis in here. 

Rabbi. The subject had often thought 
that Mrs. X. looked foreign and Jewish, 
but she was really not a Jewess. The 
subject himself was Hebrew and had often 
felt, because of his religious belief, that 
perhaps he was only tolerated by the 
doctor and his wife, and that, after all, 
the friendship was probably not so intimate 
as the subject wished. Therefore the sig- 
nificance of the phrase "We don't want 
any more rabbis in here" signified that 
the friendship would remain the same, 
but they did not care to have any more 
Jewish friends. Again the fulfillment of 
a wish. He felt that he had really re- 
mained an intimate friend, so much so that 
in his presence and without hurting his 

32 



AN EXAMPLE OF DREAM-ANALYSIS 

feelings they could refer to the desire not 
to have any more Jewish friends. This 
was symbolized and condensed in the 
reiteration of the word "rabbis." This 
portion of the dream also shows, through 
a kind of reinforcement, that Mrs. X. is 
not Jewish, as she would not speak thus 
disparagingly of her co-religionists. 

It is of interest also that Mrs. X. looked 
perfectly natural in the dream; there was 
no disguise, but a kind of effort to preserve 
her Semitic appearance in order to offset 
and neutralize in the dream her reference 
to Jews (rabbis) . This is due to the action 
of what is known as the censor, which divests 
the dream process of part of its cutting 
references to Jews by preserving the Jewish 
appearance of the person who made the 
remark. Thus the long underlying dream 
thoughts have undergone a censorship, a 
little late perhaps, because the dream was 
pretty fully formed, so that the reference 
to rabbis crept in but was immediately 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

neutralized. A compromise has been 
formed to disarm the remark of its force. 
This censorship acts in the same way as 
that apphed to dispatches or telegrams of 
war correspondents before being given to 
the public, neutralizing the message so as 
to make it as harmless as possible. So 
the censor often works in dreams to render 
certain groups of dream elements harmless. 

Rabbis also gave the free associations 
rabble or crowd, meaning that they did not 
care for any more friends, but just a few 
intimate friends like the dreamer, even 
though they were Jewish. Yet they feel 
so at home with him that they can conven- 
iently refer to other Jews. 

Then she dived suddenly under the table 
as if to hide, crouching low in a most undig- 
nified manner, entirely out of keeping with 
her usual demeanor, and motioned to the 
subject to hide in a closet. 

This undignified behavior of the doctor's 
wife again expresses the fulfillment of the 

34 



AN EXAMPLE OF DREAM-ANALYSIS 

wish that in their house he be made to feel 
completely at home, so that in his presence 
she could act as she wished, even going to 
the absurd extreme of squatting under the 
table and talking freely. 

Wells's " World Set Freer 

This followed the doctor's remark that 
his projected European trip had been given 
up on account of the war. The subject 
had often remarked the prophecies of Wells 
in his scientific romances, particularly con- 
cerning war, as in "The War in the Air" 
and "The World Set Free." There had 
recently appeared in the newspapers an 
account of the havoc wrought in Antwerp 
through bombardment by a German Zep- 
pelin, and how nearly Wells had forecast 
these fights of the "nations' airy navies" 
in his books. In the accounts of the war, 
the subject had constantly compared the 
actual events with Wells's latest book. 

Then Doctor X, replied: ''Yes and the 
Holland dikes or dams — and they are going 

35 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

to erect a monument to the Prince of Lum- 
bago." 

A reference to the threat of the Dutch 
that if their neutral country were invaded 
by the Germans the same as Belgium was 
invaded, they would open the dikes and 
flood the country. The fulfilling of this 
threat forms one of the most dramatic 
episodes of Wells's recent book. 

Lumbago. The subject had lumbago for 
several days previously, and since he had 
not improved under anti-rheumatic diet, 
he at one time had thought of going to the 
city for electrical treatment. In fact, he 
thought that this would furnish a good 
excuse for returning to the city. That 
the word lumbago is a form of displacement 
or dream contamination^ is shown through 
the free associations, viz. : Lumbago — 

^ As a literary example, the following passage from Carroll's 
"Alice in Wonderland," which is really the dream of a child, 
offers a specific instance of dream displacement : "Alice turned to 
the Mock Turtle, and said : ' What else had you to learn ? ' 
*Well, there was Mystery,' the Mock Turtle repUed, 'Mystery, 
ancient and modem, with Seaography, then Drawling.' " 

36 



AN EXAMPLE OF DREAM-ANALYSIS 

Lemburg — Limburg (a place mentioned 
in the war dispatches) — Limburger — 
cheese — wondered if through the war the 
supply of foreign cheese, of which he 
was fond, would be curtailed. This also 
brought to his mind a jocular remark made 
in the past that the flavor of some cheeses 
was so fine that the inventor of them ought 
to have a monument erected to him. Thus 
the displaced word lumbago, by means of the 
free associations, is likewise connected with 
the phrase Holland dikes or dams : Holland 
— Dutch — Dutch cheese — Edam cheese 
— dams — (limburger cheese) — all of which 
are condensations for foreign food stuffs, 
really a wish for change from the plain and 
rather tasteless diet of the summer resort. 

The meaning of the dream thus becomes 
clear, and the question "What put that 
into my head V is answered. In analyzing 
this dream, we find that it is composed of 
the condensed product of two factors, viz. : 
(1) The dream antecedents or instigators, 

87 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

such as the events of the previous days, 
and (2) A complex mass of latent, uncon- 
scious thoughts. Out of these two factors 
the dream was woven. 

The dream-analysis consists therefore 
of collecting each dream-element in an 
orderly way by means of free associations 
of the thoughts which come into conscious- 
ness without exercising any conscious or 
voluntary control. Thus while the dream 
itself might appear absurd, disconnected, 
and meaningless, the dream thoughts (or 
latent content of the dream) were a logical 
arrangement of the subject's complicated 
and intimate mental life. The dream 
(manifest content) was short, the analysis 
was long and intricate. Therefore the 
dream was not only a condensed product of 
a mass of latent thoughts but was likewise 
allegorical and symbolical. 

The motive of the dream as shown 
throughout the entire analysis is the ful- 
fillment of a wish or rather a group of 

38 



AN EXAMPLE OF DREAM-ANALYSIS 

wishes which were concealed within this 
apparently absurd dream. All dream- 
analysis is for the purpose of deciphering 
these cryptic and hidden wishes. Thus 
the dream becomes not only the most 
potent instrument for the analysis of the 
unconscious and conscious mental life, but 
also of certain morbid fears and obsessions, 
all of which have the same mechanism and 
wish-fulfilling purpose as dreaming. 

The translating of the dream thoughts 
from the latent content into another form 
in the manifest content shows that the 
sleeping brain is capable of logical thinking, 
and that the most complex mental activity 
may take place during sleep. The chang- 
ing from latent to manifest content is 
termed the work of the dream. Thus the 
dream work is not mechanical and physio- 
logical, but a complex psychical process. 
The dream is also a condensed product of 
a long and complicated psychic process. 
Not only has the dream become condensed 

39 



[THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

but likewise disguised for the purpose of 
protecting sleep from the vast mass of 
thoughts which produced the dream, and 
which, if dreamed literally, might disturb 
or even awaken the sleeper. These va- 
rious dream mechanisms will be more fully 
discussed in the course of another chapter. 
In the analytic procedure, it will be noticed 
that each element of the dream is taken 
separately for analysis, and the final com- 
bination of these elements, in other words 
the synthesis of the dream, leads finally 
to the wish fulfillment concealed within 
the dream. The true meaning of the dream 
is therefore reconstructed out of the dis- 
connected fragments and becomes a logical 
whole, in much the same way as discon- 
nected pieces of colored glass can be com- 
bined to form the allegorical figures of a 
stained glass window. 

The deciphering of the latent dream 
thoughts from the dream as remembered 
is the analysis. This analysis is an expan- 

40 



AN EXAMPLE OF DREAM-ANALYSIS 

sion and therefore the reversal of the dream 
work, which is really a compression or a con- 
densation. The large mass of latent dream 
thoughts have not only been condensed, but 
likewise displaced, dramatized, and elabo- 
rated, thus rendering the true meaning of 
the dream unrecognizable without analy- 
sis. Because the dream is so condensed, 
because the manifest content represents a 
rich well of underlying dream thoughts, the 
dream is said to be over-determined. 

Thus the dream becomes perfectly in- 
telligible only when regarded from the 
standpoint of a wish fulfillment. If the 
dream represents a wish fulfilled, if the 
fulfilling of wishes is the only function of 
dreaming, how is it done.^ The dream 
wish has emanated from the unconscious, 
and the dream thus becomes a direct road 
for a knowledge of the unconscious mental 
life. There must be something then in 
the unconscious which subserves and 
directs this function of wishing, and since 

41 



THE MEANING :0F DREAMS 

all dreams are concealed wishes, the only 
function and activity of the unconscious 
mental life must be desiring or wishing. 
As Freud states:^ "The reason why the 
dream is in every case a wish realization 
is because it is a product of the unconscious, 
which knows no other aim in its activity 
but the fulfillment of wishes, and which 
has no other force at its disposal but wish 
feehngs." As will be shown later, there 
are other types of wish fulfillment besides 
dreams; for instance, all psycho-neurotic 
symptoms are disguised wish fulfillments 
from the unconscious. Thus the dream 
does not say what it really means ; the real 
meaning can be found only by the employ- 
ment of that difficult technical method 
known as psycho-analysis. 

In a few words, the real meaning of the 
dream analyzed above is that it represented 
the fulfillment of a wish to preserve friend- 
ship. 

1 "The Interpretation of Dreams," p. 448. 

42 




Chapter III 

Dreams as the Fulfillment of Wishes 

I HE dream stands in the center of 
the psycho-analytic theory and 
gives us the best insight into 
normal and abnormal mental structures. 
Dream-analysis furnishes the physician the 
most direct means of understanding various 
abnormal mental or nervous states, such as 
obsessions, fixed ideas, delusions, hysteria, 
etc., and is the most powerful instrument 
which he possesses for the removal of such 
pathological symptoms. The unconscious 
contains our repressed instincts, our erotic 
or sexual phantasies, and it expresses these 
as symbolic wish fulfillments in dreams 
or in psycho-neurotic symptoms. 

The motive power for every dream is 
furnished by the unconscious, although 

43 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

this motive power may be set into activity 
by our conscious thoughts, pre-sleeping 
reveries, or physical instigators during sleep. 
A conscious wish in children or in adults 
may reinforce the unconscious wish, and it 
will be fulfilled in the dream. As Freud 
so well expresses it: "Experience teaches 
us that the road leading from the forecon- 
scious to the conscious is closed to the dream 
thoughts during the day by the resistance 
of the censor." ^ 

At the bottom of every dream there lies 
a repressed wish in the unconscious, a 
wish which may appear disguised in the 
dream, and which can only be interpreted 
by an analysis of the dream. The theory 
that every dream represents the fulfillment 
of a repressed wish is one of the most im- 
portant contributions of the psycho-ana- 
lytic school but it can be well substantiated 
by practical experience in dream-analysis. 
Furthermore, as previously pointed out, 

1 "The Interpretation of Dreams," p. 429. 
44 



DREAMS AS WISHES 

the unconscious has no other force or func- 
tion at its disposal but wish feehngs and 
their fulfilhnent. Of course, except in the 
very elementary wish dreams of children, 
the wish in adult dreams is hidden within 
the dream thoughts or latent content of 
the dream, and only in rare instances does 
it appear in the dream itself. 

As an example of such a concealed wish, 
we may take the dream of a woman who 
dreamed that one of her brothers was about 
to be put to death by hanging. Such a 
dream appears to contradict totally the 
theory that dreams represent wish fulfill- 
ments, often the fulfillment of wishes im- 
possible in reality, for one would at once 
say that no woman would be so heartless, 
so devoid of feeling as to entertain such a 
wish against her brother. If the dream 
is interpreted literally, such a criticism 
would be well taken, but the remembered 
dream (manifest content), as previously 
pointed out, is merely a disguise of the 

45 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

underlying unconscious thoughts which pro- 
duced the dream. What, then, are these 
thoughts? Why does this woman's un- 
conscious self wish her brother to be hanged, 
when her conscious thoughts, nay, even 
her whole moral being, would revolt from 
such an idea ? 

The analysis fully disclosed the reason 
for such a dream. It developed that the 
brother who was seen in the dream was a 
fusion or composite picture of two of her 
brothers, one of whom had died eight years 
previously of tuberculosis, and the other 
four years ago of cancer. After the death 
of the first brother, the dreamer had for 
some time been troubled with a cough, and 
although assured that her difficulty was not 
tubercular, she had never been able to 
dispel fully the idea of tubercular infec- 
tion, particularly since she possessed a 
certain fear that the disease was hereditary. 
The dream itself occurred shortly after an 
operation for a small, non-malignant tumor, 

46 



DREAMS AS WISHES 

which had been growing for a number of 
years, and which she had feared might be 
of a mahgnant character. This fear was 
also somewhat exaggerated and fortified 
owing to the fact that her other brother 
had died of cancer, and she had become 
more or less obsessed by the idea that per- 
haps cancer, like tuberculosis, might be 
hereditary. In a way, this fear of a can- 
cerous or tubercular heredity had worried 
her for a long period. With these data 
in mind, the meaning of the dream becomes 
clear. Its wish as disclosed is not the 
desire to have her brothers hanged, but a 
longing that she be free from any physical 
disease with the slightest hereditary taint, 
for the purpose of calming her anxieties 
and her almost obsessive attitude towards 
heredity. Therefore, the dream means 
that she wished her brothers had died of 
some disease other than cancer or tuber- 
culosis (as these diseases might be hered- 
itary, and she might also fall a victim to 

47 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

one of them) ; in fact, even hanging would 
be preferable, so far as her peace of mind 
was concerned. 

The term ''wish" in psycho-analysis is 
very comprehensive and connotes in a broad 
sense all our desires, ambitions, or strivings, 
which are fulfilled in our dreams, if not in 
reality or in reveries, principally because 
such wishes or desires are strongly repressed 
from personal, social, religious, or ethical 
motives. Children have no such motives, 
therefore the wishes of the child's waking 
life and its dreams at night are identical. 

The latent content of every dream is the 
imaginary fulfillment of an ungratified or re- 
pressed wish, but a wish cannot produce a 
dream, unless such a wish harmonizes with 
the whole or a portion of the unconscious self. 
Thus a mental conflict frequently arises, 
the repressed, unconscious wish constantly 
striving to enter consciousness, which it 
can accomplish only in a dream. Dreams 
and nervous symptoms have frequently the 

48 



DREAMS AS WISHES 

same construction and mechanism; both 
represent conflicts between wishes, i.e. : 
the wish to forget and the wish for ful- 
filhnent. 

The source of the dream wish may lie 
not only in the thoughts repressed into the 
unconscious, but likewise in actual desires 
arising during the night, such as thirst. 
For instance, if a feeling of thirst arises 
during sleep, we may dream of gratifying 
this thirst through drinking. Since the 
thirst is gratified in the dream, the wish 
for a drink is fulfilled, and sleep remains 
undisturbed. Therefore, this, as many 
other dreams, serve to protect sleep; the 
wish has incited a dream in which the wish 
is fulfilled, instead of awaking the sleeper 
for the fulfillment of the wish in reality. 

Now, a wish or conflict between wishes 
may not only cause an hysterical disturb- 
ance but likewise may show itself in the 
dreams of the individual who suffers from 
hysteria. For instance, a young woman 

49 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

who had an anxiety hysteria, with feeUngs 
of perplexity and indecision concerning 
certain emotional attributes which she be- 
lieved she lacked, had a dream in which 
she saw herself in a disguised form and 
apparently made up of the figures of three 
women friends. On analysis it could be 
shown that this fused or composite figure 
of herself represented certain desired attri- 
butes, and the three women had these 
very attributes for which she longed. 
Therefore, the fusion of these three figures 
into a new person representing herself 
and yet not herself was a fulfillment of her 
own wishes; and furthermore, the women 
were not accidentally chosen, but deliber- 
ately selected to harmonize with these 
wishes. Thus no dream element, figure, 
or situation is accidental ; it is the prod- 
uct of our repressed, unconscious wishes, 
of which the dream represents the logical 
fulfillment. In other words, every dream 
element is predetermined or motivated by 

50 

DEC 11 19S3 





DREAMS AS WISHES 

our unconscious mental life. The fusion 
of the three figures into the new personal- 
ity in this dream was a prearranged plan 
of the subject's unconscious, which took 
this method of fulfilling certain wishes 
which could not be gratified in reality. 

Examples of this wish-fulfilling function 
in the simple dreams of adults are as 
follows : ^ 

Dream. A woman and her sister were 
seated in a restaurant, and at the table 
was also a man, not clearly recognized 
in the dream. The woman glanced at the 
clock and said: "I am glad Mr. X. is not 
here now; it will be ten minutes or more 
before he arrives." 

Analysis. A few weeks previous to 
this, Mr. X. who was a business acquaint- 
ance, had persuaded the dreamer to pur- 
chase some artistic objects which she did not 
care about, but bought merely for the pur- 

* The wish dreams of children will be discussed in the special 
chapter devoted to that subject. 

51 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

pose, she thinks, of pleasing him and the 
art dealer. She resented this action on his 
part, and although still pleasant to Mr. X. 
outwardly, yet she gets ''square" with him 
in the dream by not having him at the 
dinner-party. Thus in the dream the 
wished -for revenge is fulfilled. 

A young woman who had started to 
study aesthetic dancing and had purchased 
a pair of new ballet slippers for that pur- 
pose had the following dream after having 
had one dancing lesson. She dreamed 
that she was walking in the street with her 
ballet slippers, and that these were worn 
almost threadbare. The analysis showed 
that she had compared her new slippers 
with those of the more advanced members 
of her class, who were making rapid prog- 
ress, and who knew more than she did 
about sesthetic dancing. The instigator 
of the dream seemed to be a remark made 
by a woman in the class, who pointed to 
her worn-out slippers and said: "These 

52 



DREAMS AS WISHES 

are my second pair this season." Thus the 
dream fulfilled her wish that she might 
be further advanced in dancing, a wish 
symbolized by the threadbare slippers. 

A young man on a short visit to a 
congenial household dreamed that the re- 
cently planted bulbs in this household had 
sprouted and bore flowers. The wish in 
this dream is perfectly clear: it expresses 
the desire to prolong the visit, and this is 
expressed by the length of time it takes 
bulbs to grow. 

These few samples of pure wish dreams in 
adults must suffice for the present. Others 
of a more complex character are given in the 
course of this book, but when these compli- 
cated dreams are analyzed, they will be 
found to contain a hidden wish, as for in- 
stance, the apparently senseless dream of 
the dining-room, given as an example of 
dream-analysis in the second chapter. 

The following dream is of interest, as it 
contains both an adult and a childhood 

53 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

wish. It occurred in a normal individual 
free from psychoneurotic disturbances : 

Dream. L. (the dreamer's daughter) and 
I were bathing with others at dusk near a 
wooded slope. Suddenly some one said : 
''Isn't it too bad; a boy and girl (or a 
mother and daughter) have been drowned 
(or killed)." I expressed my sorrow, came 
out of the water, and began to hail L. 
through the darkness: "L. where are 
you ! I want my clothes ! " As I mounted 
the hill, a large, handsome woman passed 
by. She looked sad. I appeared to be 
only partially dressed, having only my 
trousers on, but did not feel in the slightest 
degree embarrassed. I asked the woman 
what the matter was, and she replied that 
she had lost some one dear to her. Then 
she disappeared. It was day, and I ap- 
peared to be alone on another landscape, 
looking at myself borne up the hill, on a 
litter, apparently dead. Just as if I were 
some one else, I cried out to my daughter : 

54 



DREAMS AS T\1SHES 

"L! L! what's the matter!" She did 
not answer. I reiterated my question more 
anxiously, and then L. smiled. I lifted 
myself from the litter and began to laugh. 
Analysis. The obvious instigators of 
this dream were the accounts of the Euro- 
pean war (wounded soldiers carried on 
litters) and the fact the subject was at a 
mountain resort, where there was bathing 
in a mountain pool. An interesting point 
of great significance in the dream is the 
doubling of the principal character; in 
other words, the dreamer appears twice 
in the dream, once alive and once dead. 
This doubling process thus reinforces the 
wish concealed within the dream : namely, 
that the dreamer be alive and younger so 
that he may accomplish more work. This 
doubling process is an important mechan- 
ism, the same as the twin-motive so often 
found in mythology, or when a legend is 
related twice, like the two Babylonian and 
Hebrew accounts of creation. Both these 

55 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

are for the purpose of emphasizing anew 
and thus reinforcing the original legend; 
or in the dream, for the purpose of rein- 
forcing the primary wish like a dream 
within a dream. That portion of the dream 
in which the dreamer found himself only 
partially clothed represents a reversion to 
childhood days. Its significance will be 
taken up in detail later on when we analyze 
a typical dream of nakedness. 



56 



Chapter IV 
Dreams and the Unconscious 

BEFORE the various dream mechan- 
isms are discussed in detail, it will 
be necessary to give a brief outline 
of the psycho-analytic conception of the 
unconscious mental life, as this enters so 
largely into the formation of dreams. The 
term "unconscious" does not connote, as 
in the popular sense, lack of consciousness, 
but signifies mental processes of which one 
is not aware, and cannot spontaneously 
be brought to consciousness, but which 
may artificially be recalled by means of 
the special technique of psycho-analysis; 
or which arise spontaneously in dreams, 
psychoneurotic symptoms, or the various 
symptomatic actions of e very-day life. 
The unconscious contains nothing that has 
not been learned, thought, or experienced. 

57 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

Unconscious mental processes are not mere 
physiological nerve activities but are psy- 
chically active and dynamic; in fact, they 
have all attributes of normal thinking but 
lack the sense of awareness. These pro- 
cesses remain unconscious, because they 
are prevented from reaching consciousness 
through a force termed resistance. This 
resistance, which it is impossible at this 
point to describe in detail, is of great im- 
portance in the analysis of dreams and in 
the psycho-analytic treatment of func- 
tional nervous disturbances. Only thoughts 
which are emotionally painful or disagree- 
able, and which we have repressed either 
in adult or childhood life, tend to remain 
in the unconscious. 

Thus unconscious thoughts may be re- 
pressed not only in the acts and thinking 
of every-day adult life, but also in our 
childhood, the latter forming what is known 
as the infantile unconscious. This infan- 
tile unconscious is pf great psychological 

58 



DREAMS AND THE UNCONSCIOUS 

and practical importance, because in it 
the thoughts are so deeply buried by the 
resistances imposed through our mental 
and moral development that it becomes 
very difficult of access. It is, however, 
clearly revealed in certain typical dreams, 
such as the dream of the death of one of 
our parents or the dream of being dressed 
in insufficient clothing. Such dreams re- 
veal our infantile unconscious and there- 
fore our childhood wishes, although the 
exact memory for these wishes apparently 
may have vanished long since. It is such 
wishes from the infantile unconscious, that 
also reveal themselves in many nervous 
symptoms of adult life, such as fears, obses- 
sions, and hysterical symptoms. In fact, 
upon analysis nearly all dreams will be 
found to contain some elements from the 
infantile unconscious or highly tinged by it. 
The latent (unconscious) thoughts which 
motivate a dream are furthermore compli- 
cated by our conscious thoughts and also 

59 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

by daily instigators or physical discomforts 
arising during sleep. However cleverly or 
completely we may decipher or analyze 
these, if the unconscious thoughts are not 
reached and laid bare, we can never fathom 
the real meaning of the dream, because it 
is the unconscious which makes the dream, 
although the unconscious may be thrown 
into activity by conscious thoughts or 
organic stimuli. Since the only function 
of the unconscious is wishing or desiring, 
the dream as a wish fulfillment can never 
be completely understood until we have 
these unconscious thoughts in our posses- 
sion. Dreams are therefore the royal road, 
in fact, the easiest road, to a knowledge of 
our unconscious mental life. 

Thus the unconscious contains not only 
recent experiences, but likewise impressions 
of infantile or childhood life, all of which 
are actively and dynamically functioning 
like conscious processes. The unconscious 
is therefore the great repository of our men- 

60 



DREAMS AND THE UNCONSCIOUS 

tal life ; in it are contained thoughts and 
wishes which may be foreign to our per- 
sonaKty, to our moral or ethical nature, 
thoughts which we constantly and appar- 
ently successfully repress, but which inad- 
vertently and to our surprise suddenly crop 
out as symptomatic actions, psychoneurotic 
symptoms, or dreams. All functional ner- 
vous disturbances, dreams, and slips of 
the pen or tongue are motivated by uncon- 
scious mental processes, of which they are 
the symbolic expression. The unconscious 
is a kind of limbo of seemingly forgotten 
groups of thoughts or complexes, which 
are constantly striving to reach conscious- 
ness and are just as persistently rejected 
by the repressive action of the censor. 
But frequently the censor nods and is 
caught unawares, the repressed wish slips 
through in the form of a dream, and we are 
repeatedly surprised to discover how primi- 
tive, how selfish and savage, may be our 
unconscious desires. Accordingly dreams 

61 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

reveal, either in a literal or symbolized form, 
our unconscious, which is our true mental 
life, and not our outward activities, which 
are changed by the conventionalities of 
society. As a heritage of our long ances- 
tral line from primitive man, there remains 
in all of us something of the barbarian 
and savage, which has become repressed 
and veneered by the refinements of culture 
and civilization. It is in the unconscious, 
where we have repressed it, that we find 
the traces of our savage ancestry. The 
unconscious is barbaric and primitive in 
its elements and likewise unethical, because 
ethical interpretations of motives occur 
only in states of advanced civilization. 
Thus the unconscious contains not only 
our adult and infantile characteristics, but 
the emotions of the childhood of the human 
race as well. As I have previously ex- 
pressed it,^ the value of the analytic method 

^ Isador H. Coriat, "A Contribution to the Psychopathology 
of Hysteria," Journal Abnormal Psychology, vol. IV, no. 1, 1911. 

62 



DREAMS AND THE UNCONSCIOUS 

lies in the fact that through it one is able 
to discover repressed material and thus 
establish a definite psychological connec- 
tion between symptoms and repressed ex- 
periences. The entire psychical complex 
may be constructed through the data 
furnished by psycho-analysis. All the 
heterogeneous material consequently falls 
into certain law and order. It is here 
that the great value of Freud's work lies : 
in demonstrating that mind is a dynamic 
phenomenon, and that its manifestations 
follow definite laws of cause and effect, as 
in the physical world. The unconscious 
thus becomes a symbol, a working hypoth- 
esis, in the same manner that certain math- 
ematical signs are symbols, or the physical 
conception of an all-pervading ether. 

Thus the existence of the unconscious 
is the result of a repression, and the uncon- 
scious consists wholly of repressed material. 
For instance, certain ethical or moral 
standards may conflict with the individual's 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

personality and it is exactly these stand- 
ards which undergo the process of repres- 
sion. Such standards are of the nature of 
wishes which are constantly striving for 
real gratification in every-day life, or in 
psychoneurotic symptoms and for imagi- 
nary gratification in dreams. The fact 
that these standards are repressed is the 
most convincing proof of their existence. 
The so-called New England conscience is 
one of the best examples of repression. 

This repression of emotions at the same 
time' admits their reality by trying to 
avoid and negate them. The effort of 
these repressed emotions to find an outlet 
leads to all forms of nervous invalidism 
such as so-called nervous prostration and 
various types of morbid fears. Such indi- 
viduals externally appear cold and austere, 
apparently emotionless, and lacking all 
essentials of human feeling, yet their dreams 
show various degrees of forbidden desires 
which only in this manner come to expres- 

64 



DREAMS AND THE UNCONSCIOUS 

sion. Conditions like these teach us that 
we are all emotional volcanoes, and when 
we pride ourselves on having subdued our 
emotions and on not yielding to so-called 
vulgar feelings and temptations, neverthe- 
less it is certain that, hidden within the 
depths of our unconscious, these repressed 
desires are as potent and active as though 
they assailed every second of our conscious 
thinking. 



65 



Chapter V 
The Mechanism of Dreams 

AFTER having analyzed the dream 
given in the second chapter and 
shown how an apparently mean- 
ingless jumble can be reduced to law and 
order, we are now prepared to discuss the 
various dream mechanisms of which hints 
have already been given. In a psycho- 
analysis we find that the dream thoughts 
have undergone a series of different dis- 
tortions, to disguise the dream for the 
purpose of protecting the sleeper. These 
different distortions by means of which 
the manifest dream-content is formed from 
the underlying dream thoughts, are known 
as dream mechanisms, 

A dream-analysis, as shown in the pre- 
vious chapter, gives us a method of pene- 
tration and a deep insight into the uncon- 

m 



THE MECHANISM OF DREAMS 

scious mental life. The dream work is a 
kind of shorthand, a chemical formula, by 
means of which the dream material is 
compressed or condensed. The formation 
of the dream from the latent dream thoughts 
is due to several mechanisms, each of which 
will be discussed in turn. These mechan- 
isms are condensation, displacement, drama- 
tization, secondary elaboration, and rein- 
forcement, 

1. The Content of Dreams. The con- 
tent of dreams consists of many complicated 
ideas, and there is a constant tendency in 
the minds of the uninitiated to confuse the 
matter of the dream itself and the thoughts 
out of which the dream is woven. It has 
already been amply demonstrated that the 
dream is not an isolated, chance phe- 
nomenon which takes place during sleep; 
but behind it, hidden in the same way that 
the movements of marionettes are hidden, 
lies the motive power of the unconscious. 
It is this motive power which distorts the 

67 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

dream, makes it unrecognizable, and hides 
the wish. Now what is it that hes behind 
the dream; what is the material out of 
which the dream is woven? When this 
is once deciphered, what relation do these 
hidden thoughts bear to the dream itself? 
The unconscious thoughts which are 
hidden from the dreamer and make the 
dream are termed the latent content. This 
latent content can only be revealed 
through a psycho-analysis. The dream 
itself is the result of a long and complicated 
unconscious mental process, which com- 
presses, displaces, and disguises the latent 
content. This changed latent content is 
the dream as it is remembered on awaken- 
ing, and to this remembered dream the 
term manifest content is applied. The 
manifest content is produced directly 
by the dream thoughts. These dream 
thoughts, for the specific purpose of ful- 
filling the wish of the dream, may undergo 
all sorts of new combinations and arrange- 

68 



THE MECHANISM OF DREAMS 

ments. The manifest dream is a conscious 
process, but the dream itself is made in the 
unconscious and enters as a finished prod- 
uct into consciousness. 

2. Condensation of Dreams. In the 
process of condensation, the manifest content 
of the dream represents a number of dream 
thoughts or instigators, because the dream 
material is compressed or condensed. It is 
for this reason, when a particular dream 
or dream element is analyzed, we find 
that the dream material (both unconscious 
thoughts and instigators) is far more exten- 
sive and of more intricate construction than 
the dream itself. Thus the purpose of con- 
densation, which is really a kind of fusion, 
is to express similarity or identity between 
several elements of the dream thoughts, 
and from this it follows that the special 
dream thoughts which enter into the con- 
densation become disguised by this con- 
densing process. Furthermore, this com- 
pression also protects the sleeper from 

69 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

being awakened by the multiplicity of 
dream thoughts and instigators which 
pour into consciousness. Thus the dream 
thoughts, by being condensed, create some- 
thing new, because the dream elements 
represent a series of dream thoughts. 

The dream is a highly visualized product 
like the cinematograph, and like it too, 
it is constantly in motion. Just as, behind 
the limited area of the motion picture as 
projected on the screen, there may be many 
feet of film, of which the moving picture 
as seen is merely the condensed product, 
so the dream picture is the condensed prod- 
uct of a long series of dream thoughts 
which lie behind it. Each dream element 
is therefore over-determined by a multi- 
plicity of dream thoughts ; that is : one 
dream thought represents a whole series 
of dream elements. This is well seen in 
the following fragmentary dream : He 
seemed to be walking in the street with a 
girl whom he did not recognize. 

70 



THE MECHANISM OF DREAMS 

This dream is very short and condensed 
(over-determined), but note how complex 
when analyzed. The face of the girl in 
the dream was a condensation of several 
male and female friends, viz. : 

A. A girl with whom he is in love. 

B. A recent female acquaintance. 

C. One of his boy pupils in the school 
where he taught. 

D. A portrait of an actress. 

Thus these multiple dream elements, 
A — B — C — D, have been condensed into 
one face as follows : 




Figure I. — Diagram Illustrating the Process of Conden- 
sation IN A Dream 

71 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

The unconscious has probably no con- 
ception of time, because repressed experi- 
ences and wishes of the past and present 
may be fused and condensed into a single 
dream picture. 

3. Displacement in Dreams. The 
most important element of the dream may 
stand in the foreground and yet possess 
the least value of all the dream elements; 
and conversely, an apparently trivial ele- 
ment may represent the most vital and im- 
portant part of the dream. This process 
is termed displacement, and it is this 
mechanism which more than all others 
explains the bizarre character of dreams. 
Thus the dream thoughts and also the 
emotional quality of the dream become 
transposed. Sometimes displacement is 
for the definite purpose of expressing a 
concealed wish, whose real meaning can 
be ascertained only through analysis. For 
instance, a young woman dreamed that 
she was in a strange room, and two pretty 

72 



THE MECHANISM OF DREAMS 

blond children, whom she did not recognize, 
referred to her as "Bella," whereas her real 
name was "Delia." An analysis of this 
dream gave the following free associations : 
Bella — beautiful — Bella Donna — beau- 
tiful woman." Therefore this dream dis- 
placement of the letter "B" for "D", 
changing Delia to Bella, expressed the usual 
feminine wish to be prettier than she really 
was. 

The construction of the manifest content 
out of the multiple dream thoughts is due 
to the process of what is termed the work 
of the dream or the dream making. Be- 
cause most dreams are visual pictures, the 
action may become very complex and in 
constant movement, resembling a cinemato- 
graph. This mechanism is termed drama- 
tization, 

4. Elaboration of Dreams. This 
usually arises from the more conscious 
mental processes. In other words, the 
dream is disposed of as a dream, it is criti- 

73 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

cized by the sleeper as diflferent from 
reality, because of the thought which so 
often arises: "Why, it is only a dream!" 
This thought either reinforces the primary 
wish of the dream or neutralizes it and thus 
offsets its primary motive. In dreams of 
horror, this secondary elaboration, as a con- 
cession to the sleeper, may be a protective 
mechanism. For instance, a nightmare 
may take place, and instead of awaken- 
ing the sleeper, it may be recognized as only 
a dream, and the sleep go on undisturbed. 
Thus it is but a step from this to the 
mechanism of reinforcement, in which the 
prominent or primary wish of the dream is 
reinforced, expressed anew for the purpose 
of emphasis by means of a second dream 
following the first, really a dream within 
a dream. 

5. Dreams within Dreams. This 
brings us to the interesting subject of 
dreams within dreams, which is really a 
variation of secondary elaboration, a type 

74 



THE MECHANISM OF DREAMS 

of the mechanism of reinforcement for the 
purpose of emphasizing the dream wish 
or expressing it anew. In a way, a dream 
within a dream is a mirror picture seen 
in a mirror. Sometimes it takes the form 
of the reahzation that the process is only 
a dream; on other and more rare occa- 
sions, the dream may be a self-interpreted 
one. 

As an example of the former process, a 
young man dreamed that he received a 
telegram announcing, to his profound shock 
and surprise, that his mother was dead. 
In the dream, he jotted this fact down, 
saying to himself that he was told by his 
physician to keep a record of his dreams. 
The second portion of the dream, in which 
he realized that the first part was merely 
a dream to be recorded and analyzed, is a 
type of a negative wish : in other words, 
the censor has informed him that he merely 
dreamed the receipt of the telegram, and 
the news was not true at all. Thus the 

75 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

first part of the dream is neutralized and 
rendered invalid by the second portion. 

On other occasions, the second part of 
the dream appears under the guise or form 
of an actual analysis of the first part of the 
dream, and in the few instances in which 
this process has been encountered by me, 
the analysis used in the dream was the 
very analysis which the subject desired to 
be made of the dream. In other words, 
the analysis reinforced the wish concealed 
within the first part of the dream. 

An example is the following : ^ 

Dream. The dreamer appeared to be 
in a cemetery. Many open caskets were 
visible, and in these caskets were moulder- 
ing bodies. Then the scene seemed to 
shift to my office, and he related the dream 
to me in all its details. After he had 
finished, I laughed and remarked that such 
a dream was not difficult to analyze and 

1 Only the outlines of this extremely interesting and complex 
dream are given, as the details would lead into psychological dis- 
cussions beyond the scope of this book. 

76 



THE MECHANISM OF DREAMS 

then analyzed the entire dream, according 
to the technical methods used in dream 
analysis. 

Under these conditions the question 
arises : is the self -analysis in the dream a 
true analysis, such as would be made by 
the physician, or a wished-for analysis of 
the dreamer from his own conscious 
thoughts and projected on to the personal- 
ity of the physician? It developed that 
the latter was the true interpretation; 
that is : the analysis in the dream was the 
analysis desired and not the interpretation 
that would be given under analysis in the 
waking condition. In other words, the 
unconscious wishes of the subject were 
reinforced by the second portion of the 
dream in which the analysis appeared. 

Another pretty example of a dream within 
a dream is the following one of a young 
woman : 

Dream. It appeared that she had sent 
a letter of congratulation to a woman, 

77 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

whose son's betrothal had been recently 
announced. Then she felt that the letter 
had been incorrectly addressed and that it 
would never reach her. At this point she 
became conscious of the fact that she was 
only dreaming. 

Analysis. At one time in the past a 
love affair had developed between the 
subject and the friend who figured in the 
dream. She had not seen him for a year 
or two, as business affairs had compelled him 
to reside in another city, and yet during all 
this time the feeling of affection remained. 
On the day of the dream, she had read in 
the newspaper of his betrothal, much to 
her painful surprise and disappointment. 
A congratulation was what would have 
naturally followed, as she felt that in the 
event of his betrothal, she had become 
persona non grata with him. In the dream, 
such a letter of congratulation was written, 
but the wrong address placed on the 
envelope, this being a symptomatic action 

78 



THE MECHANISM OF DREAMS 

to express her disapproval of the whole 
affair and therefore an unconscious desire 
to withhold rather than offer her congrat- 
ulations. The wrong address had thus 
betrayed and laid bare her true feelings. 
The idea that it was "only a dream" 
showed that she was still hoping against 
hope, that she was jealous of the other 
woman and fortified the wish that the news 
of the betrothal was merely a dream and 
not the reality. Thus the feeling that she 
was only dreaming robs the dream of its 
reality ; it expresses a wish that what has 
occurred in the dream should not have 
actually occurred. 

6. Symbolism of Dreams. Dreams fre- 
quently contain disguised erotic wishes 
and many phallic symbols. This is partic- 
ularly true of many so-called typical 
dreams/ such as the dream of nakedness, of 
the death of a parent, or of dental irritation. 

^ These will be fully discussed in Chapter VIII and hence need 
only be briefly referred to here. 

79 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

I am not referring here to the frank sexual 
dreams which nearly every one has expe- 
rienced, but to the more highly disguised 
and symbolized type of dreams briefly 
referred to above. The erotic desire may 
be something retained from the infantile 
or childhood life and derived not at all 
from adult life or recent experiences. It 
is the repressed infantile desire which often 
appears in the dream, not literally, but, as 
in the conventionalities imposed by civih- 
zation and culture, disguised by indirect 
means, often by mere allusions. These 
are the sexual symbols of dreamers, many 
of them quite complex and often incom- 
prehensible until we trace their sources 
to other channels. These symbols are the 
same in all dreams, because they are uni- 
versal, the result of collective thinking and 
can only be interpreted like a hieroglyph or 
a cuneiform inscription. 

The dream may use as material to express 
its symbolism certain recent mechanical 

80 



THE MECHANISM OF DREAMS 

inventions, as in the following "flying 
dream": The subject dreamed that he 
was on the edge of a beautiful valley, in an 
aeroplane, flying from place to place, with 
a strong sense of pleasure. He felt de- 
lighted to go and come as he pleased in 
the dream. This dream is a variant of 
the typical flying or floating dreams which 
recur so frequently as to be grouped 
among the typical dreams. These typical 
dreams will be discussed in a subsequent 
chapter. It needs only to be pointed out 
here that in the above case the aeroplane 
was used as material to express the under- 
lying symbolism of such a flying dream, 
which in its essence meant a wish to be free 
from all social restraint, to do as one 
pleased. 

7. The Censor and Psychical Re- 
pression. The conservation of ideas and 
memories in the unconscious and their 
later appearance in a dream is seen in the 
following interesting number dream: 

81 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

The subject was shown a white sheet of 
paper, and on it were two rows of figures 
as in statistical tables, viz. : 

331 133 

331 133 

331 133 

She said in the dream to some one : "Which 
is it — 133 or 331?" 

On awakening from the dream, she could 
not recall what the numbers signified. 

Analysis. A couple of days previously, 
the subject became interested in calculat- 
ing machines with their rows of numbers. 
This acted as the dream instigator. A 
young woman friend had been recently 
married, and she was planning to send her 
a wedding present. The number of the 
street on which the bride lived had been 
told her on two occasions, but she was in 
an abstract, inattentive condition when in- 
formed. Later on, while attempting to 
recall the number, she could not, try as 
she would. She had selected a pretty 

82 



THE MECHANISM OF DREAMS 

Japanese picture for the present, but after 
selecting it, she felt that she really wanted 
the picture for herself, as it was rather 
rare, and she was therefore not especially 
desirous of sending the present to the bride. 
Thus this disturbing complex acted in such 
a way as to prevent the conserved but 
unconscious number from reaching con- 
sciousness. The number was really there, 
but on account of the disturbing complex 
it could not be recalled, and yet consciously 
she strongly wished to remember the num- 
ber. On awakening from the dream, it 
was impossible to tell what the numbers 
signified or connect them with the wedding 
present, thus demonstrating that the dis- 
turbing complex was at work both when 
asleep and awake. Then again she asked 
the same person: "Where does she live.f^" 
and the reply came: "I told you twice 
yesterday, but you were not paying much 
attention to me ; it was Thirty-three Blank 
Street." 

83 



/ THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

It will be noticed now that the number 
of the street was disguised in the dream by 
being placed in two rows of three (a symbol- 
ization of the real number) and by having 
one placed before and after the real number. 
This disguise was for the deliberate yet 
unconscious purpose of preventing the sub- 
ject from recalling the number, even in a 
dream, because the subject did not really 
wish to give the present selected, but 
wanted to keep the special gift for herself 
on account of its uniqueness. This caused a 
resistance in reproducing the number both 
while asleep and awake, although the 
number was actually registered and con- 
served. Now what made this resistance; 
what was its ultimate purpose; and what 
was gained by it ? How was the instigator 
or the source of the dream material (in 
this case the calculating machines) able to 
set into activity the unconscious wish to 
remember the number, and why was it 
not* definitely remembered ? Why was it 

84 



THE MECHANISM OF DREAMS 

disguised? The answer to these questions 
opens up the discussion of a very important 
factor in all dreams, termed the censor or 
the censorship of consciousness and the 
theory of psychical repression. 

The entire subject of psychical repression 
is one of great importance, not only in 
dreams and in the development of psycho- 
neurotic symptoms, but likewise in every- 
day life, as a defence of the mind to neu- 
tralize our unwelcome and unpleasant 
thoughts. In analyzing a dream, for in- 
stance, groups of thoughts will suddenly 
crop out which surprise us, thoughts which 
carry with themselves an unpleasant emo- 
tion and seem foreign to our personality. 
When we arrive at these thoughts, we at- 
tempt to push them back, because they are 
out of harmony with our conscious feelings, 
but once they have fully obtruded into 
consciousness, they tend to remain there. 
These are the repressed thoughts which in 
the past we have pushed into the uncon- 

85 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

scious, and are wishes and desires whose na- 
ture is such that they act as intruders to the 
normal course of thinking or are unaccept- 
able to our moral or ethical standards ; 
hence the constant attempt to conceal 
them and to push them out of the conscious 
into the unconscious. This process of re- 
pression is not always voluntary, but may 
be an involuntary act as well, in order to 
protect the mind from ideas and feelings 
which are unpleasant and painful. 

When thoughts have been made uncon- 
scious through repression, a certain force 
or resistance must be overcome before 
such unconscious thoughts can again be- 
come conscious. This resistance is a de- 
fensive action of the mind and the distortion, 
disguise, fusion, or symbolic expression 
which take place in a dream is due to the 
force exerted by this resistance, which is 
termed the censor. The feeling that per- 
haps we have dreamed a great deal more 
than we remember is probably based upon 

86 



THE MECHANISM OF DREAMS 

a vague memory of the latent thoughts 
of the dream, which have been prevented 
from fully reaching consciousness through 
the force exerted by this censor. 

Since the purpose of the censor is to pre- 
vent certain registered memories from be- 
coming conscious, it follows that in the 
number dream analyzed this censor was at 
work as a kind of unconscious resistance. 
There was a constant repression of the real 
number into the unconscious, because for 
selfish motives the subject did not actually 
care to remember the number. In every way 
the numbers thirty -three were disguised, first 
by placing another figure before and after 
each number, and secondly by grouping 
the numbers. It will be noticed, however, 
that the other figures, when added, formed 
each a group of threes, giving rise to the 
number thirty-three, and secondly, the 
grouping of the figures themselves was in 
threes, again giving the number thirty- 
three. In the dream the disguise was so 

87 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

successful, due to the repression, that the 
subject failed to penetrate this disguise or 
in any way to guess at the symbolism of the 
numbers. Thus this dream becomes a 
wish fulfilled; the censor has triumphed; 
the wish to forget the number has been 
successful. 

But sometimes the censor is weak; cer- 
tain latent dream thoughts or emotions 
succeed in escaping its vigilance, and the 
dream may then be accompanied by dis- 
tressing emotions, giving rise to the so- 
called nightmares or anxiety dreams. The 
subject then will suddenly awaken with a 
sense of terror and anxiety, the mental 
state having the usually physiological ac- 
companiments of cold sweating and rapid 
heart-beat. The dreams of suffocation, of 
being nailed down in a coffin and struggling 
to get out, are instances in question. In 
other cases, just as the subject is falling 
asleep, he will awaken each time with a 
momentary vivid dream of being pursued, 

88 



THE MECHANISM OF DREAMS 

of choking, inability to breathe, etc. Of 
course these types of dreams are continual 
disturbers of sleep and lead to insomnia, 
because the unconscious, repressed emo- 
tions are continually escaping the censor, 
without disguise or fusion, and so lead to 
a state of constant morbid anxiety in the 
mind of the sleeper. A marked example 
from a case of anxiety hysteria is the fol- 
lowing dramatic dream. 

Dream. It seemed as though a man who 
was angry with the dreamer had thrown 
her into a large tank of water and held her 
head under the water until she drowned. 
During all this time, he was laughing and 
jesting and seemed to enjoy her struggles 
in her endeavor to save herself and escape 
from the tank. There was a constant, 
horrible, suffocating feeling as though she 
were bound down. It appeared as though 
she were upright in the water, and the man 
held his hand over her head, forcing it to 
remain beneath the surface of the water, 

89 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

so that she could not breathe. She kept 
one arm elevated above the surface of the 
water, and the man kept pressing her head 
downward until her arm dropped limp. 
There was an intense sensation of drowning, 
an unpleasant suffocation and struggling 
with great fear, breathlessness, eyes shut, 
fighting, finally absolute inability to 
breathe. Then she saw herself dead and 
floating beneath the surface of the water 
and awoke in terror. 

Analysis. This is a typical anxiety 
dream due to the same repressed emotions 
which caused the subject's hysteria, and 
an analysis of such dreams, of which the 
subject had many, finally led to an un- 
covering of these repressed emotions. 
During the day, the repressed emotions in 
trying to escape produced the hysterical 
symptoms ; and during the night, similar 
repressions led to the anxiety dreams. 
Of course, such a dream is full of other 
symbols which it is unnecessary to relate 

90 



THE MECHANISM OF DREAMS 

here. The instigators of the dream which 
set the unconscious anxiety into activity, 
but which in themselves could not produce 
such a dream unless the unconscious anxiety 
were present, were two, namely : 

(1) Several nights previously the sub- 
ject had seen a dramatic representation of 
the Arabian Nights, in one scene of which 
a man was thrown into a tank and his head 
held under the water until he was drowned, 
the hand of the drowning man meanwhile 
holding on to the edge of the tank until the 
grasp slowly relaxed. 

(2) A few days previously she had read 
Maupassant's "Le Horla," in which an 
attack of nocturnal anxiety (nightmare) is 
vividly described. 

It was these two instigators which entered 
into the intense and vivid dramatization 
of the dream, and which set the unconscious 
machinery of the dream, in the form of 
repressed feelings, into motion. The dream 
was not a literal repetition of the instiga- 

91 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

tors, but there was a rearranged emotional 
process. The latent content of the dream 
was the repressed emotions; the manifest 
content was a dramatization of the dream 
instigators. The night terrors of children, 
while they may be instigated by digestive 
disturbances, are due to the same mechan- 
ism of a psychical repression of certain 
emotions into the unconscious, attempting 
to find an escape. This was clearly seen 
in some analyses of hysteria in children.^ 

Sometimes a wish repressed into the un- 
conscious may cause dreams in which 
symptomatic acts occur — such as in the 
previously analyzed dream of placing the 
wrong address on an envelope — in much the 
same way as in every-day life. Superfi- 
cially such acts seem to be done accidentally 
or by chance, but an analysis of such acts 
shows that they represent the expression 
of a concealed and repressed wish, — in 

^ Isador H. Coriat, "Some Hysterical Mechanisms in Chil- 
dren," Journal Abnormal Psychology, 1914, vol. IX, nos. 2-3. 

92 



THE MECHANISM OF DREAMS 

other words they are motivated by desires 
of which the person is unaware. A young 
woman for instance had the following 
dream : 

Dream. She seemed to be walking in 
the street with her sister and was idly 
playing with a ring on her finger, moving 
it thoughtlessly back and forth, apparently 
"just to keep my hands busy." Finally 
she came to a pile of shavings, and the 
ring accidentally fell in this pile, so that she 
could not find it. 

Analysis. This dream represented a 
wish of the subject. She actually possessed 
such a ring, which she had not really lost. 
This ring was a graduation gift, and en- 
graved on the inside was the date of her 
graduation from college. She had often 
feared that if this date were known to 
others, it would betray her age, which, for 
family reasons and because she contem- 
plated marriage, she was anxious to con- 
ceal. She had often felt that she would 

93 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

like to lose the ring or "accidentally" mis- 
place it, thus more effectively preventing 
an attempt to discover her age. For cer- 

A 




B 

Figure II. — Diagram Illustrating the Making of a 

Dream 

In the unconscious (B) are contained the mass of repressed 
memories and wishes {E, H, F). These repressed mental pro- 
cesses in the unconscious are kept from entering consciousness 
{A) through the resistance exerted by the censor (C). This 
censor is active during sleep and guards the portal going from 

94 



THE MECHANISM OF DREAMS 

tain reasons, she could neither afford to 
lose the ring, nor carry out her wish of mis- 
placing it. So in the dream, the wish to 
lose the ring is actually fulfilled. Under 
such conditions, the symptomatic action 
of misplacing or losing an object, which is 
partially beloved and partially hated, is 
completed, not in actuality, where for 
social reasons it was impossible, but in a 
dream. See Figure II, which illustrates 
the mechanism of dreaming and the mak- 
ing of a dream. 

the unconscious to the conscious, thus preventing the emerging 
of painful complexes from the former. Experiences of the day 
may act as dream instigators (D) only if these experiences are 
able to form associations and set into activity the repressed 
wishes which have become accumulated in the unconscious. 
These repressed wishes (or dream thoughts) thus instigated 
become disguised and condensed before they are allowed to 
enter consciousness as the dream itseK (G). The dream as 
related is the manifest content; the repressed memories or 
wishes which lie in the unconscious are the dream thoughts or 
the latent content of the dream. The latent content is the 
real and logical mental life, the manifest content is the incon- 
gruous and absurd dream. The instigator which sets into ac- 
tivity the imconscious wishes and the manner in which these 
large groups of wishes become condensed into a dream, is shown 
by the direction of the arrows. This simple diagram illustrates, 
in a general way, the complex mechanism of dreams. 

95 



Chapter VI 
The Function of Dreams 

SINCE everybody dreams, and since 
sleep is necessary for the needed re- 
pair of our physical energies, a point 
of great practical importance concerns it- 
self with the question: What is the use of 
dreams ? What is gained by dreaming ? 

It can be shown through dream-analysis 
that dreams subserve a definite function in 
our mental life in that they really act as 
protectors and not as disturbers of sleep. 
This guardianship of sleep by means of 
dreams is due to the persistent dynamic 
action of the censor. 

In sleep the censor is exceedingly active, 
and its function is to protect sleep from the 
mass of repressed emotions which threaten 
to overwhelm the sleeper in the shape of a 

96 



THE FUNCTION OF DREAMS 

dream. This is done by means of the dream 
mechanisms already discussed, in which the 
dream thoughts are fused and displaced, thus 
undergoing such disguise and symboliza- 
tion as to be unrecognizable to the sleeper 
and consequently not disturbing to him. 
When the censor nods or is evaded, when 
the literal dream thoughts bombard and 
invade consciousness in an undisguised 
form, sleep is disturbed and insomnia re- 
sults. 

This is the origin of many types of so- 
called functional insomnia, sleep being 
troubled by a series of anxiety dreams. 
Only when the dreams are completely 
analyzed, and the unconscious mental pro- 
cesses thereby become stilled, when the 
censor is once more allowed to stand guard 
over the portal leading from the uncon- 
scious to the conscious, will refreshing 
sleep again result. Such a cure can be 
brought about only through psycho-analy- 
sis. 

97 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

It is these two mechanisms of psychical 
repression and censorship which prevent 
the egotistic and savage wishes of child- 
hood from reaching our daily consciousness, 
and which only occasionally appear in cer- 
tain typical dreams, such as the death of a 
parent or the dream of nakedness. These 
"typical dreams" will be taken up in detail 
in the chapter devoted to that subject. 

Thus the wish in the dream need not be 
present in the consciousness of the adult 
dreamer, but may have existed from early 
childhood, and it is the censor which, except 
on certain occasions, prevents these un- 
conscious childhood wishes from reaching 
consciousness in the form of a dream. The 
dream also protects sleep by frequently 
making the latent dream thoughts unrec- 
ognizable, even if these thoughts should 
escape the censor's vigilance. Thus the 
repressed thoughts enter the dream con- 
sciousness because of a disturbance of 
what is called in international parlance a 

98 



THE FUNCTION OF DREAMS 

balance of power : either the repression is 
not strong, or the censor is lax or tem- 
porarily off guard. A kind of a compromise 
or psychological treaty takes place between 
the censor and the unconscious thoughts, 
through which a certain portion of the lat- 
ter are allowed to pass into the dream 
consciousness. For instance, in certain 
erotic dreams, this compromise takes place 
by investing the beloved object with the 
form of an individual to whom the dreamer 
is indifferent, a real process, for the purpose 
of disguise, of both condensation and dis- 
placement. 

An example of the protective function 
of a dream is the following : 

A highly cultured woman, in the midst 
of some difficulties with her husband, 
dreamed that she was lying in bed asleep, 
while her husband was awake, and she 
laughed sarcastically at him. The analysis 
of this simple dream revealed an interesting 
compromise with her wishes. In the dream 

99 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

she realized that it was all a dream and not 
reality, a kind of a reinforcement of the 
fact that it was nothing but a dream fan- 
tasy. Therefore, if it were a dream, there 
could be no truth in their strained relations, 
and the whole dream revealed the uncon- 
scious, repressed wish of the dreamer that 
a reconciliation or welding together of the 
affections might take place. If she laughed, 
the laugh signified that the strained relation 
was all a joke and not reality ; in fact, so 
unreal was it all that she was able to sleep 
peacefully as in the dream. 

When we awake from a dream, and the 
relaxed censor resumes its sway, the re- 
sistance again prevents the unconscious 
thoughts from reaching consciousness, and 
everything is once more repressed, some- 
times very rapidly after awakening. It is 
this renewed strength and activity of the 
censor which in part explains the rapid 
forgetting of dreams. Forgetting dreams, 
in fine, is due not so much to the fact that 

100 



THE FUNCTION OF DREAMS 

the vagueness of the dream was such that 
it left no traces in memory, for some of 
the most intense dreams are quickly for- 
gotten and vague ones persistently remem- 
bered, but rather to an unconscious wish to 
forget. Sometimes only a portion of the 
dream is forgotten, and these forgotten 
fragments, which contain dream material 
so strongly repressed that their forgetting 
is an intentional act, usually are recalled 
during the course of a dream-analysis, 
provided the resistance is not too great. 
^ Thus the disguised dream increases the 
ability to sleep peacefully, it quiets the 
energy which would tend to keep us awake, 
and leads to those two great essentials for 
refreshing sleep, viz. : relaxation and dis- 
interest.^ When the unconscious thoughts 
continually escape the censor, either 
through their emotional strength or due 

1 For the experimental evidence and a discussion of these two 
essentials of sleep, see my papers : "The Nature of Sleep," Journal 
of Abnormal Psychology, vol. VI, no. 5, and "The Evolution 
of Sleep and Hypnosis," ibid., vol. VII, no. 2. 

101 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

to a weakness of the censor, insomnia re- 
sults. The treatment of these types of 
functional insomnia, therefore, must be 
by psycho-analysis, whose purpose is to 
still or quiet the disturbing, unconscious 
thoughts. This is accomplished by the 
analysis of the dreams, since the dreams 
best reveal the unconscious and disturbing 
emotions. In fact, dream-analysis in these 
cases of insomnia acts like oil upon the 
troubled waters of the unconscious. Some- 
times the sleeplessness is due to fear or 
anxiety on account of the distressing dreams 
which disturb sleep or which awaken the 
subject with a start as soon as he falls 
asleep. In these cases the sleeplessness be- 
comes an act of defence, the subject forces 
himself to remain awake to prevent the 
occurrence of the distressing dreams. It 
is such types of sleeplessness, with the 
resulting emotional tension, which cause 
also severe states of fatigue. In one 
striking case of anxiety hysteria with in- 

102 



THE FUNCTION OF DREAMS 

somnia, such a process as described above 
took place. As the dream-analysis pro- 
ceeded, the anxiety dreams gradually dis- 
appeared, the unconscious emotions were 
stilled, and sleep resulted. 

This answers the question as to why we 
dream or what is the necessity of dream- 
ing .^^ Obviously to protect sleep, to make 
sleep undisturbed, and thus give us the 
needed rest for the repair of our broken- 
down physical and psychical energies. This 
is contrary to the popular idea that dreams 
disturb sleep, for the dream is in reality 
the guardian of sleep. Thus a dream is 
not a trifle, neither does it deal with trifles. 
It fulfills a wish of great personal impor- 
tance to the dreamer and acts as a kind of 
safety valve for the successful escape of 
our repressed emotions. 

A pretty illustration of this latter 
mechanism was seen in the case of a young 
woman, a sufferer from hysteria, in whom 
a series of vivid and highly dramatized 

103 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

dreams occurred very frequently. Sud- 
denly, without any apparent cause, the 
dreams abruptly ceased, and a few days 
later she developed an hysterical delirium 
which contained all the characteristics of 
her previous dream life. In this delirium, 
the mental condition was that of a dreamy 
state of consciousness. What had occurred 
was this : the delirium had replaced the 
dream, because dreaming had ceased, and 
the delirium itself acted as a safety valve 
for her repressed, pent-up emotions which 
were formerly subserved by the dream. 
Thus the numerous dreams protected her 
sleeping consciousness, and when dreaming 
ceased, consciousness became again pro- 
tected by the delirium. 

Dreams are always egotistic; they refer 
to one's own person or some elements of 
one's experience. Sometimes, if the ego 
does not appear directly in the dream, it 
may be concealed behind some other person 
in the dream. Hysteria and dreams, as 

104 



THE FUNCTION OF DREAMS 

already shown, and as will be explained in 
more detail later, have thus the same mech- 
anism : in the dream the repressed emo- 
tional complexes escape in the form of the 
vivid hallucination of the dream itself; in 
hysteria in the form of bodily symptoms 
or the mental state of the hysterical sub- 
ject. 



105 



Chapter VII 
Dreams of Children and of Primitive Races 

IT has been shown in a previous chapter 
that a dream is a reaHzation or fulfill- 
ment of repressed desires or wishes. 
In adults, this wish is concealed or symbol- 
ized in the manifest content of the dream, 
and the true wish can be discovered only 
through a psycho-analysis of the under- 
lying thoughts which give rise to the dream 
— namely, the latent content. Even in 
adults, however, the dream may contain 
fragments of the life of childhood; in 
reality, it is the child slumbering in the 
adult's unconscious. Thus the study of 
children's dreams becomes of paramount 
importance, not only in showing the infan- 
tile elements which are always present in 
the dreams of adults, but also as offering 
the best proof of the wish theory of dreams. 

106 



DREAMS OF CHILDREN 

In children the wish is clear, and with few 
exceptions the latent and manifest content 
are one. The child's wishes during the 
day become literally fulfilled in the dream 
at night. 

Dreams of little children, in fact, accord- 
ing to my experience, even the dreams of 
children up to ten years of age, are simple 
fulfillments of wishes.^ While children's 
dreams present no specific problem to be 
solved, yet because of their simple structure 
they are of value in affording an easy solution 
to an important question of dream mech- 
anisms, namely : why does the unconscious 
furnish the motive power for the wish- 
fulfillment only during sleep ? In answer 
to this it may be stated that the conscious 
wish is the dream instigator in children, as 
it is unfulfilled during the day; but at 
night it arouses or activates an unconscious 

^ See my paper on " Some Hysterical Mechanisms in Children," 
Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol. IX, Nos. 2 and 3, 1914, 
where a number of examples of children's dreams are given and 
analyzed. 

107 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

wish of a similar nature, each reinforcing 
the other. Since the child cannot com- 
pletely assert its wishes during the day, the 
fulfilled wishes appear at night in dreams, 
as the only function of the unconscious is 
wishing. The censorship of consciousness 
also plays a part in the simple wish dreams 
of children. In the sleep of children, the 
censor is either very lax or does not exist; 
if existent, and the child's unconscious or 
conscious desires are such that they are 
impossible of fulfillment, a compromise 
takes place between the demands of the 
child and the activity of the censor. 

Thus the most simple dreams are those 
of children, because the mental activities 
and desires of children are far less compli- 
cated and less difficult to fulfill than those 
of adults. Savages are also very childlike 
in their mental activities, and therefore the 
dreams of savages, in the few fortunate 
cases in which it has been possible to collect 
and study them, strongly resemble the 

108 



DREAMS OF CHILDREN 

dreams of children. It is only in children 
and primitive races that the dream on the 
surface says what it means without dis- 
guise and symbolization. In the civilized 
adult, too, because of his childhood fantasies 
and infantile history, we find either many 
dreams of the same simple type as those of 
children, or, in the more complex dreams, 
an analysis can demonstrate the desires 
of childhood in addition. So we can readily 
see from this that no matter how much cul- 
ture and mental growth and social conven- 
tionalities have helped to develop us and 
drag us away from childhood with the 
advancing years, there is always within us, 
within our unconscious mental life, con- 
densed and slumbering, our whole child- 
hood history. A wish can awaken our 
sleeping childhood, can activate it, and it 
bursts out in our dreams. As Stevenson 
has so beautifully described it in " Virgin- 
ibus Puerisque": 

"For as the race of man, after centuries 

109 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

of civilization, still keeps some traits of 
their barbarian fathers, so man the indi- 
vidual is not altogether quit of youth, 
when he is already old and honored, and 
Lord Chancellor of England. We advance 
in years somewhat in the manner of an 
invading army in a barren land ; the age 
that we have reached, as the phrase goes, 
we but hold with an outpost, and still 
keep open our communications with the 
extreme rear and first beginnings of the 
march. There is our true base; that is 
not only the beginning, but the perennial 
spring of our faculties; and grandfather 
William can retire upon occasion into the 
green enchanted forest of his boyhood." 

Both children and adults are so attracted 
to fairy stories or to romantic, imaginative 
tales like the "Arabian Nights," because 
these seem to realize their childhood wishes 
and day-dreams. Children's dreams, there- 
fore, because elementary, unsymbolized, and 
undisguised, are interesting and valuable as 

110 



DREAMS OF CHILDREN 

illustrating and proving two most important 
dream mechanisms, viz. : that the only func- 
tion of the unconscious is wishing, and 
secondly, that all dreams are fulfillments 
of these unconscious motives. Concerning 
children's dreams, Freud states as follows : ^ 

"The wish manifest in the dream must 
be an infantile one. In the adult, it (the 
wish) originates in the unconscious, while 
in the child, where no separation and 
censor yet exist between the foreconscious 
and the unconscious, or where these are 
only in the process of formation, it is an 
unfulfilled and unrepressed wish from the 
waking state." 

From the standpoint of psycho-analysis, 
therefore, and particularly in clearing up 
the important problem of hysteria in chil- 
dren, with the consequent prevention of 
adult hysteria, children's dreams are of 
value as showing the simplest type of imagi- 
nary wish fulfillment. They serve to prove, 

^ "Interpretation of Dreams," p. 439. 
Ill 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

more clearly than adult dreams, the theory 
that all dreams represent unfulfilled wishes. 
In children's dreams also, the dream insti- 
gators (such as the play activities of the 
day or the reading of fairy or hero tales) 
may be harmless enough, but the content 
of each dream, even though activated by 
such a trifling instigator, represents the 
fulfilling of important repressed childhood 
wishes. Thus children's dreams, like those 
of adults, in spite of their simple character, 
of the child's elementary desires, and of the 
apparently harmless instigators, do not 
deal with trifles, but with very important 
mental conflicts of the child. For instance, 
in the case of hysteria in a little girl, which 
was instigated through jealousy of an older 
brother because of the maternal over- 
exuberant attentions to this brother, the 
following dreams occurred : 

Dream 1. Her brother seemed to be 
taken away from her to a cave where she 
also saw her mother dying, and then she 

112 



DREAMS OF CHILDREN 

seemed to go to another house where she 
was very happy and teased by children. 

Dream 2. She and her brother were out 
together, and a witch plagued her and took 
her brother away from her and locked him 
in an enormous cave. 

Now these two dreams clearly represented 
the fulfilling of strong, repressed wishes of 
the little girl, namely, to have revenge on 
her brother and mother and banish them 
from the family circle. By this means she 
hoped to gain ascendency over the house- 
hold and thus end the family conflict. Of 
course such a wish, because impossible of 
fulfillment in reality, either dominated the 
little girl's day-dreams or was suppressed 
into unconscious. The wish, however, was 
persistently present and was fulfilled at 
night in dreams, because the censor was 
relaxed and allowed the undisguised wish 
to enter the consciousness of the sleeper. 
The dream used as material certain fairy 
tales, because these served to fulfill the little 

113 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

girl's desires. The instigator of these dreams 
was harmless enough, but the use made of 
the instigator was to fulfill the unconscious 
but repressed wish, i.e., to get rid of both 
mother and brother. Thus out of child- 
hood wishes arise mental conflicts which 
may cause the important and apparently 
contradictory dreams of adult life, such as 
the dreams of the death of a near or dear 
relative (father or mother^) or the em- 
barrassment dreams of nakedness. 

Sometimes, too, children will use the 
material of an interesting fairy story as 
the content of an entire dream, in order to 
continue the excitement of the story during 
the night. A five-year-old boy, for in- 
stance, after having had a portion of "Alice 
in Wonderland" read to him, became in- 
tensely excited and interested, so much so 
that it became necessary to discontinue 
the reading for the day. However, the 
next morning on awakening, he sat up in 

^ The so-called (Edipus or Electra-Complex dreams. 
114 



DREAMS OF CHILDREN 

bed and spontaneously said: "O dear me! 
I am surprised to see myself in my own bed, 
because my Teddy bear went down a hole, 
and I went after him, and then I thought 
I swam in my own tears." Here was 
evidently a pure wish dream, a desire to 
continue the day's excitement caused by 
the story, plus the wish to continue playing 
with his Teddy bear. Another boy, age 
four, who during the day had been to a 
children's party, betrayed the wish to con- 
tinue the good time he had at the party by 
the following dream: '* Daddy, when I 
am in bed with my eyes closed, I can see 
Barbara's party." 

The dreams of primitive races of men in 
many ways strongly resemble the dreams of 
children, because, as was previously men- 
tioned, savages possess many childlike and 
primitive activities, the same as do civilized 
children. In fact, up to a certain age, the 
civilized child is really a savage, with his 
strong egotism and feelings of rivalry and 

115 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

jealousy, and his few or no altruistic ten- 
dencies. From a psycho-analytic viewpoint 
all war is a form of reversion to the un- 
bridled fury of our childhood Ufe, at a 
time when there was no repression. In 
the child as in the savage, the wish and 
the thought are synonymous, — there is no 
distinction or separation; both want their 
desires immediately gratified, although such 
gratification may be impossible in reality. 
The dreams of the American negro, particu- 
larly the so-called pure-blooded negro, are 
simple wish fulfillments, because the mental 
activities of the race are less complicated 
than those of the Caucasian. 

A Yahagan Indian, for instance, in trad- 
ing groceries with a settler stated:^ "Me 
buy English biscuit and me dream have 
more English biscuit and things and wake 
up and find no got any." This is an ex- 

1 This and other dreams of primitive tribes, as well as for the 
reference to Grubb, were kindly fm-nished me by the well-known 
explorer, Charles W. Furlong, F.R.G.S. 

116 



DREAMS OF CHILDREN 

ample of a pure wish dream, like the dream 
of a Uttle child. If a Carib Indian believes 
he has a specific enemy or dislikes a par- 
ticular Indian, he will dream that this In- 
dian is attempting to kill him, the thought 
being father to the wish. He will interpret 
the dream as an actual attempt on his life, 
and thus the repressed wish to get ''square" 
with his enemy is fulfilled in the dream, the 
dream thus furnishing the excuse for his 
already wished-for revenge. 

In a most interesting book,^ Grubb 
states that "dreams play a very important 
part in the life of an Indian and to some 
extent govern many of his actions. . . . 
Dreaming is, in the opinion of the Indian, 
an adventurous journeying of the soul 
attended by much danger. While the 
soul wanders, being ethereal, it is able to 
gratify its desires more freely than if it 
were in the body. ... As the Indian 

^ W. B. Grubb, "An Unknown People in an Unknown Land." 
(Refers mainly to the Lengua Indians of the Paraguayan Chaco 
region.) 

117 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

looks upon the body only as a house or as 
an instrument in the hands of the soul, he 
considers that what he dreams about is in 
reality a declaration of the will of the soul 
and therefore, whenever possible, that will 
must be gratified through the body." In this 
attitude of the Indian towards his dreams 
we seem to have a very simple and primi- 
tive conception of the Freudian theory that 
dreams represent fulfilled wishes. In a pre- 
vious contribution,^ the following statement 
was made : ''There is a certain resemblance 
likewise between the mental life of the 
savage and the neurotic, for instance, in the 
relationship of the taboo and the neurotic 
obsessions or obsessional prohibition, a 
comparative feature which is best seen in 
the fear of touching certain objects {delire 
de toucher). Suppression is the result of 
our complex civilization. Savages, like 
children, have not learned to suppress." 

1 Isador H. Coriat, "Abnormal Psychology," 2nd edition, 
New York, 1914 (pp. 331-332). 

118 



DREAMS OF CHILDREN 

Several pure wish dreams of these In- 
dians are given by the author, and from 
these the following is selected as suffi- 
ciently illustrating the type of material: 

" While sleeping in an Indian village one 
morning, I awoke long before the first light 
and noticed a number of men sitting round 
a fire engaged in an animated conversation. 
Joining the party, I found that they were 
laying plans for a hunting expedition. The 
night before I had heard nothing of such a 
project. I found that they were proposing 
to sally forth to some open plains, some dis- 
tance to the north, where they expected to 
find ostriches. While listening to the con- 
versation, I gathered that one of the men 
had just had a dream, and in it he had 
seen ostriches in that district." 

Thus the inability of the Indian to dis- 
tinguish a dream from reality had betrayed 
his wish, a condition exactly similar to 
dreams of civilized children. A four-year- 
old boy, for instance, on being brought into 

119 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

a room to view the expected Christmas tree, 
carefully touched the various branches of 
the tree with his fingers. This was a rem- 
iniscence, no doubt, of a dream in which 
the tree vanished on awakening, and thus, 
in this symptomatic action, he wished to 
assure himself of the tree's reality. 



120 



Chapter VIII 
Typical Dreams 

THE analysis and correct interpre- 
tation of a dream presupposes a 
certain degree of knowledge and 
technical skill. A dream cannot be inter- 
preted, however, unless the dreamer con- 
scientiously and without resistance fur- 
nishes us with the instigators and the 
complex latent thoughts which lie behind 
the dream, and from this mass of material 
the real meaning of the dream can be 
constructed. There are certain dreams, 
though, which nearly every one has 
dreamed in much the same manner, which 
are clearly defined and need no elaborate 
interpretation. In fact, the dream really 
interprets itself, and a knowledge of certain 
dream symbohsms enables one to penetrate 

121 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

the inner meaning of such a dream. Be- 
cause these dreams occur to us all and arise 
from emotions common to the human race, 
they have been termed typical dreams. 
The subject of typical dreams is very wide 
and complex. Only the general outlines 
can be considered here, since such dreams 
are markedly symbolic and require for 
their correct understanding an accurate 
knowledge of dream symboHsm. 

A typical dream frequently deals with an 
unpleasant or painful situation without any 
unpleasant emotion in the dream itself; 
in fact, the dreamer may remain totally 
indifferent to the situation. This is partic- 
ularly well seen in those dreams in which 
the dreamer appears only partially clothed 
in the presence of strangers or friends. 
The dreamer in such situations is totally un- 
embarrassed, and the spectators completely 
indifferent to the negligee attire of the sub- 
ject. For instance, one subject dreamed 
that he was in his bedroom only partially 



TYPICAL DREAMS 

dressed, and two women friends seemed to 
be in the room. He was totally unabashed, 
while the women did not seem to notice his 
condition. The meaning of this and of 
other typical dreams, as, for instance, the 
dream of the death of a beloved relative, 
usually father or mother, opens up interest- 
ing vistas in an unconscious mental life, 
particularly the repressed emotions of our 
childhood. 

In the above dream of being partially 
clothed, it will be noticed that the sense of 
modesty referable to our bodies, which 
occurs in all civilized and adult individuals, 
is totally lacking. It is only in the child 
or in the very primitive savage that such 
a sense of modesty has not yet developed, 
and it is this fact, as will be shown later, 
which not only enters the make-up of the 
dream, but provides the explanation for 
the meaning of the dream. The real emo- 
tion of the dream in these cases lies in the 
dream thoughts or latent content of the 

123 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

dream and not in the manifest content or 
the dream as remembered. 

SuperJBcially, such dreams seem to con- 
tradict the theory that all dreams represent 
the imaginary fulfillment of wishes, for, 
one will ask, who wishes to appear naked or 
partially clothed in public, or who, however 
depraved in morals, wishes for the death 
of the father or mother. Such desires 
belong to a very primitive state of society, 
or to the age of earliest childhood, when 
the egotistic child still possesses many of 
the instincts of the savage and will desist 
from nothing to gain its own ends. Such de- 
sires, if they existed in childhood, seem to 
have disappeared in our adult life, but in 
reality they are only repressed into the un- 
conscious. Thus such types of dreams re- 
vert to our childhood, when jealousy of 
one of the parents existed, or when the 
child had so little modesty that insufficient 
clothing failed to cause the slightest em- 
barrassment. No one can doubt that such 

124 



TYPICAL DREAMS 

emotions take place in children, particu- 
larly when the child, as occurs in so many 
cases, has a stronger emotional attachment 
for one parent than for another. There- 
fore, the wish concealed within such a 
type of dream does not actually exist in 
adult life, but did at one time exist in the 
childhood of the individual and became 
subsequently repressed. The repressed 
feelings are so successfully kept down by our 
moral censorship that they appear only in 
dreams. The typical dream therefore, does 
not contradict the wish theory, but actually 
confirms it. 

The dream of the death of a parent, 
either the father or the mother, according 
to whether the dreamer is a son or daughter, 
represents a family conflict arising in early 
childhood. The son, for instance, becomes 
jealous of the attention of the mother for 
the father and wishes to replace the latter 
in her affections. Thus a mental conflict 
arises, and the only manner in which, accord- 

125 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

ing to the childish idea, such a replacement 
can be accomplished, is for the father to be 
out of the way, or absent, which to the mind 
of the child is synonymous with death. The 
child struggles against this idea, as such a 
conception is opposed to its innate moral 
attitude, and as a result of the struggle, the 
wish is strongly repressed in the uncon- 
scious. It appears later in adult life in 
the form of a dream of the death of the 
father, whose meaning is that although the 
dreamer does not now wish his father dead, 
yet the desire once existed at some early 
period of the individual's life. In the 
daughter the opposite process takes place; 
it is the dream of the death of the mother, 
because in very early childhood the girl 
wished to replace her mother in her father's 
affections. 

Such types of dreams represent the 
struggles and perplexities of our infantile 
mental life, and like all typical dreams are 
repressed wishes from our infantile reminis- 

126 



TYPICAL DREAMS 

cences. The typical dream, then, contains 
wishes which we will not admit in our wak- 
ing life, but secret wishes, dating from our 
earliest infancy, there find expression. This 
applies to all typical dreams, although the 
acknowledgment of this fact will be found 
very difficult by the uninitiated. In this 
type of dream of the death of a dear rela- 
tive, there is usually deep grief, although the 
death of such a relative may have been most 
remote from the mind of the dreamer. The 
dream means that the dreamer wished the 
relative, no matter how near or dear, really 
dead. Of course, this will excite an indig- 
nant denial in every one, but the matter be- 
comes clear when it is emphasized that such 
a wish does not exist now, but did exist at 
some remote period of childhood. Some- 
times the dream is literal, sometimes in a 
veiled and disguised form. 

This typical dream makes up the (Edipus- 
motive of childhood ; every child which has 
such wishes is in reality a little QEdipus. 

127 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

With the advance of adult culture and of 
the ethical and moral interpretation of 
life, such a wish, because it is incompatible 
with our personality, is repressed into the 
unconscious. In all of us this strongly 
repressed emotion exists, but is under con- 
trol. Because it bears so strong a resem- 
blance to the myth of (Edipus, such a 
group of repressed ideas is termed the 
(Edipus-complex. Normal individuals suc- 
cessfully repress it however, and it only 
appears in their dreams. An unsuccessful 
repression of the complex may give rise to 
various psychoneurotic disturbances, and 
these psychoneurotics, therefore, show in 
their symptoms many residuals of their 
childhood mental and emotional make-up.^ 
Thus the symboUsm of these typical 
dreams does not belong to the dream itself or 
to the dreamer, but to the unconscious think- 

1 For the discussion of the relation of the (Edipus-complex to 
nervous diseases, see my paper, "The (Edipus-Complex in the 
Psychoneuroses," Journal of Abnormal Psychology, vol. VII, no. 3, 
1912. 

128 



TYPICAL DREAMS 

ing of the human race. The dream merely 
takes advantage of this unconscious sym- 
boHsm for the purpose of disguising the 
dream. Since the emotion which produces 
the dream is a common emotion of man- 
kind, it can, when it occurs in a social group, 
either give rise to a myth, as shown in the 
(Edipus story, or, if in the individual, to 
the typical dream. 

An example of such an (Edipus dream is 
the following : 

Dream. He seemed to be in a store, 
and his father was there, like a shadow 
and acting in the capacity of a clerk. 

Analysis. The subject in his early 
childhood had developed a feeling of resent- 
ment towards his father and an over-exu- 
berant love for his mother. Consciously, 
he had never wished his father dead, 
but in the dream he has placed his father 
in the background ; in fact, he has become 
a mere shadow. Note, too, how he further 
humiliates his father. He makes him a 

129 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

clerk in the dream, whereas in reahty his 
father was the proprietor of the store in 
which he appeared. 

The following dream of a young man 
offers an excellent illustration of the non- 
embarrassment dream of nakedness. It 
will be noted that the dream is a more in- 
tense form of the episode of being insuf- 
ficiently clothed, yet both types of dreams 
represent the same repressed desire carried 
over from childhood : 

Dream. An elderly woman took the 
dreamer to a pond of water which had 
muddy banks. It appeared as though he 
were to bathe in this pool. She had with 
her a little girl, and it seemed as if it were 
planned that the child bathe with him. 
No bathing suits were visible. Appar- 
ently he was expected to bathe naked, 
and he hinted to the woman that 
such a procedure would not be exactly 
proper. The woman replied that every- 
thing would be all right. Then he went 

130 



TYPICAL DREAMS 

into the water naked in front of the child 
and the woman. There was not the sHght- 
est sense of embarrassment; in fact, there 
was a feehng of pleasure in the nakedness 
and splashing in the water. After he had 
finished bathing, he clambered up the bank, 
and neither he nor the two spectators 
seemed embarrassed. 

Analysis. This dream is typical. The 
child was unknown to the dreamer, while 
the woman was partially recognized as a 
neighbor with whom he had only a slight 
acquaintance. So far as could be deter- 
mined by the analysis, there were no dream 
instigators, neither did the subject know 
the origin of the dream. The dream, there- 
fore, must have been the symbolization of 
some repressed thoughts from the uncon- 
scious mental life. It will be noticed that 
in this dream the subject is not ashamed of 
his nakedness, although the spectators in 
the dream were strangers to him and both 
of the opposite sex. In fact, he was not 

131 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

only indifferent, but experienced a keen 
sense of pleasure in the nakedness and 
splashing in the pool. This dream cannot 
express the fulfillment of an adult wish, 
since social conventionalities and the re- 
straints imposed by culture and adult 
modesty would be decidedly against such a 
wish being fulfilled, even in a dream. The 
dream must, therefore, like the (Edipus- 
complex dreams, have had its origin in 
the past life of the individual, when such 
a desire existed. This desire, with its 
abandonment of all social restraint, could 
only have existed in childhood; in fact, 
all these dreams of being naked or appear- 
ing in company with insufficient clothing 
can be traced back to a period in childhood 
when such wishes existed and were not 
repressed. Such a dream, therefore, rep- 
resents a wish to be younger, to be a 
child again, with all the wild abandon of 
a child. 

Other typical dreams which very fre- 

132 



TYPICAL DREAMS 

quently occur are those of tooth pulhng, 
flying, faUing, fire, dreams of burglars, etc. 
It is impossible to enter into the meaning 
and analysis of all these types of dreams. 
One dream will be given however, a typical 
flying dream. Like all flying dreams, this 
signifies in part a wish to do as one pleases, 
to be free from social restraint, and not 
bound down by the conventionalities of 
culture and civilization. This desire existed 
in childhood, but it is impossible of ful- 
fillment in our complex civilization, and 
consequently the childhood desire is ful- 
filled only in a dream. These dreams are 
characterized by a keen sense of delight 
and freedom. An example of such a fan- 
tastic and imaginative flying dream is as 
follows : ^ 

Dream. ''I dreamed we were living in 
a town on a hill-slope which was skirted 
by a steep ravine. On the further side of 
the ravine a winding road went through 

^ Given verbatim as written by the dreamer. 
133 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

the woods. My mother asked me to go 
to the other end of the town on an errand. 
I started but concluded first to take a 
walk, so I went to the road in the woods 
and walked a long distance. Suddenly I 
saw some clothes hanging on a bush as if 
to dry. I knew some one was near and 
became frightened; I turned to go back. 
A man stepped into the road in front of 
me. He was dressed in a rough negligee 
shirt and dark trousers with a leather belt. 
His face was fine, almost delicate, and he 
had extremely curly yellow hair and closely 
cut beard. It was so yellow that it looked 
almost like metal. I remember thinking the 
man out of keeping with his clothes. He 
simply stood there and looked at me in- 
tently. I felt that I could not go deeper 
into the woods and it was impossible to 
get past him into the town. 

"Suddenly I bethought me of the power 
I had to rise in the air at will. I concen- 
trated all my thoughts upon escaping in 

134 



TYPICAL DREAMS 

that way. As I went up and up, I looked 
steadily into the face of the man standing 
silently in the road watching me until he 
seemed a mere speck in the road. Then I 
moved toward the village. I could see 
the forest and the road and noticed many 
telegraph wires stretching beneath me. As 
I reached the ravine at the edge of the 
town, I thought it best to descend, as the 
people might wonder at seeing me in the 
air. I started down, but I went faster 
than I intended to go and barely missed 
being stranded on the telegraph wires. I 
realized that I must reduce my speed or be 
hurt, so I exerted all my will power and 
succeeded in alighting safely on my feet. 
I walked home without doing the errand 
I started for and went into the house to 
my mother. Then I awoke." 

The discussion of typical dreams leads 
to another subject of great interest, which 
has recently attracted the attention of 
psycho-analysts, namely, the relationship 

135 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

between dreams and myths. In general 
it may be stated that the psychological 
structure and meaning of both dreams and 
myths are the same. A myth is a waking 
dream, a fantasy. Dreams frequently orig- 
inate from the emotions common to man- 
kind and thus produce the typical dreams 
already described, and the same common 
emotion gives rise to typical myths. An 
analysis of typical dreams, therefore, fur- 
nishes the best standpoint for the analysis 
of universal myths and legends; for in- 
stance, the childhood wish for the death of 
the father as forming the groundwork for 
the (Edipus-complex dreams and (Edipus 
myth or the dreams of nakedness with lack 
of sense of shame as furnishing the basis 
for the myth of a Paradise or Garden of 
Eden. Both these dreams and myths are 
symbols, and such symbolism has its roots 
in the unconscious. In the individual this 
unconscious symbolism leads to dreams; 
in the race and society, to myths, legends, 

136 



TYPICAL DREAMS 

and fairy tales. The myth is therefore a 
fragment of the repressed hfe of the race. 
Both myths and dreams are activated by 
unconscious mental processes, particularly 
the infantile and primitive elements of the 
unconscious with their consequent repression. 
We dream, not only in sleep, but also have 
our artificial dreams. It is these artificial 
dreams which, as individual products, may 
enter into the spirit of a race and so give 
rise to myths and fairy tales. The ultimate 
origin of all myths is to be found in the 
creative faculty of the unconscious, a 
faculty which is equally able to make night 
dreams or artificial dreams, myths, and 
fairy tales, the only difference being, not 
in the fundamental mechanism, which is 
always identical, but in the use of the 
material employed and its dramatization. 
Thus is explained the horror of the dreams 
of the death of near and dear relatives, 
which were wished, not in adult life, but 
in the early, prehistoric period of our child- 

137 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

hood and lie deeply buried in our adult 
unconscious. The wish revealed itself only 
in dreams when the censor was relaxed or 
ceased to act, but even here the meaning 
of the dream can be brought out only 
through a searching psycho-analysis. 

Myths, like dreams, are symbolized, and 
the myth, which is really the manifest 
content, contains within itself the latent 
emotions of the collective race spirit, and 
thus comes to express something which its 
outer form does not suggest or signify. 
Such symbolisms have many dream-like 
attributes. They are not only highly con- 
densed products of the thought of the race, 
but like typical dreams they have their roots 
in the archaic and primitive types of racial 
thinking. Thus in a more or less modified 
form they can appear as almost identical 
myths in various ethnic groups, which may 
be separated by immense periods of time 
and under different conditions of cultural 
advancement. 

138 



TYPICAL DREAMS 

The symbolisms which are so frequent 
in art and in ecclesiastical architecture, 
are also examples of such symbolic thinking 
applied to the creative imagination. The 
creative imagination itself, which is really 
a type of a day-dream, is constantly 
striving to express its desires and wishes, 
thus resembling our dreams at night. The 
artist and the poet, like the dreamer, 
express their thoughts in symbols whose 
origin is frequently unknown to the individ- 
ual, but which can repeatedly be traced 
to the unconscious mental life. It is there 
that the motive or creative impulse lies. 
An excellent example of such a symboliza- 
tion in popular thought is the mediaeval 
idea of the devil. Analysis of the concep- 
tion of the devil shows that it is really the 
exteriorization of a forbidden and repressed 
wish. This is well seen in Giotto's painting 
of the temptation of Judas, where the devil 
is portrayed as a shadow behind Judas and 
pushing forward the hand of Judas for the 

139 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

pieces of silver. In "Faust," too, Mephis- 
topheles is symbolized as the guilty con- 
science, the forbidden desire projected out- 
wards in the shape of a devil. As so clearly 
expressed by Taylor : ^ 

"But how are sins thought to come to 
men and women in the Middle Ages, and 
especially to those who were earnestly 
striving to escape them.^^ Rather than 
fruit of the naughtiness of the human heart, 
they come through the malicious sugges- 
tions, the temptations, of a Tempter. 
They were in fine the machinations of the 
Devil." 

1 "The Mediseval Mind," vol. I, p. 487. 



140 



Chapter IX 
Prophetic Dreams 

IN the astronomical sciences, the future 
may often be accurately prophesied ; 
for instance, the movements of the 
stars, the return of comets after their vast 
journeys through space, the coming of 
eclipses; or in chemistry, the periodic law 
by which the existence of many new ele- 
ments was predicted. Contrary to the 
popular belief, however, it is extremely 
doubtful if dreams can in any way foretell 
future events. Freud states as follows 
concerning this point : 

"The belief in prophetic dreams numbers 
many adherents, because it can be sup- 
ported by the fact that some things really 
do happen in the future as they were pre- 
viously foretold by the wish of the dream. 

141 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

But in this there is httle to be wondered 
at, as many far-reaching deviations may 
be regularly demonstrated between a dream 
and the fulfillment, which the credulity of 
the dreamer prefers to neglect." 

For instance, many people have dreamed 
of some burning ambition being realized, 
and some time later this ambition is ful- 
filled in reality. The wish has thus been 
fulfilled both in the dream and in actual 
life. From this we must not conclude 
that the dream possesses any prophetic 
function, or that it can in any way forecast 
the future, but one must interpret both the 
dream and its later fulfillment as being 
merely the realized wish. The wish pro- 
duced the dream, and in the ambition of 
every-day life to fulfill this wish there was 
a constant striving, and finally it was 
actually fulfilled. The dream took place 
because a dream never concerns itself with 
trifles, and consequently the fulfillment of 
the wish had a strong personal motive. 

142 



PROPHETIC DREAMS 

Sometimes, also, we dream of a certain 
person whom we have never met before 
and several days later or even the next day, 
lo ! to our surprise, we meet the individual. 
The dream is not prophetic. What occurs 
is this. The strange individual dreamed 
of is usually a condensation, like a composite 
photograph, and on meeting the actual 
stranger, we unconsciously take one element 
of this composite dream figure and apply 
it to the stranger. Thence arises the 
illusion, for it is only an illusion, of having 
met a total stranger, who had been pre- 
viously seen only in a dream. In fact, if 
such accounts as these be carefully analyzed, 
it will be found that the person dreamed of 
never actually resembled the person later 
met. 

During sleep, also, the brain admits and 
is influenced by impressions received by 
the various organs of the body, impressions 
sometimes of so slight a character that they 
are not felt in the waking state. In morbid 

143 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

conditions of certain organs, therefore, it 
is possible that in their early stages these 
conditions, which are not noticed at all by 
the waking consciousness, may give rise 
to various types of dreams, particularly 
dreams of anxiety. Medical writers have 
long admitted this significance of the dream 
thus protecting sleep and drawing the at- 
tention of the sleeper to morbid disturbances 
of various organs. Freud, who seems to 
have thoroughly reviewed the literature on 
the subject, states as follows concerning 
these types of dreams : 

"Serious disturbances of the internal 
organs apparently act as incitors of dreams 
in a considerable number of persons. At- 
tention is quite generally called to the 
frequency of anxiety dreams in the disease 
of the heart and lungs. . . . Tissie even 
assumes that the diseased organs impress 
upon the dream content their characteristic 
features. The dreams of persons suffering 
from disease of the heart are generally very 

144 



PROPHETIC DREAMS 

brief and terminate in a terrified awakening ; 
the situation of death under terrible circum- 
stances almost always plays a part in their 
content. Those suffering from disease of the 
lungs dream of suffocation, of being crowded, 
and of flight ; and a great many of them are 
subject to the well-known nightmare which, 
by the way, Boerner has succeeded in pro- 
ducing experimentally by lying on the face 
and closing up the openings of the respira- 
tory organs. In digestive disturbances the 
dream contains ideas from the sphere of 
enjoyment and disgust. Finally, the in- 
fluence of sexual excitement on the dream 
content is perceptible enough in every one's 
experience, and lends the strongest support 
to the entire theory of the dream excitation 
through organ sensation." ^ 

Of course attempts at such diagnostic 
performance from a dream are full of dis- 
appointment and fraught with the greatest 
danger. 

1 "The Interpretation of Dreams," pp. 27-28. 
145 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

Sometimes a temporary physical disturb- 
ance may act as the inciter of a dream, but 
becomes so disguised by the censor for the 
purpose of protecting sleep and thus pre- 
venting awakening, that the disturbance it- 
self remains unknown to the sleeper until 
he awakens. A pretty example is the fol- 
lowing dream of a young married woman. 
She dreamed that she was feeling ill and 
consulted a woman physician, who said to 
her: "You are worrying about something, 
a man by the name of X." The analysis 
of this brief dream is interesting. On 
awakening, she found that the left eye was 
swollen and inflamed apparently from some 
insect bite during the night. The name of 
the eye specialist whom both she and her 
husband had consulted in the past, and in 
whom she had great confidence, was Doctor 
X., the name being identical with the one 
in the dream. Thus the pain and discom- 
fort of the swollen eye sent a disguised sub- 
stitute in the form of a distorted and un- 

146 



PROPHETIC DREAMS 

recognizable dream into the consciousness 
of the sleeper, so as not to awaken her. 
The dream was really a desire or wish on 
the part of the censor to protect the sleeper, 
and this wish was fulfilled by translating 
a bodily discomfort into a meaningless 
dream. The dream therefore did not dis- 
turb sleep ; in reality it protected it. The 
discrepancy concerning the absence of pain 
or discomfort in the dream is readily ex- 
plained when we remember that the emo- 
tion of discomfort belonged to the latent 
content and not to the manifest content 
of the dream. 

A dream may often solve situations, im- 
portant crises, and mental conflicts which 
may bafl3e one in the waking life. The 
situation and the conflict are cleared up 
in the dream by a kind of unconscious in- 
cubation of wishes, and only in this sense the 
dream may be said to be prophetic. 

An example of this is the following. A 
young woman, after her betrothal, began 

147 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

to be troubled by worries, perplexities, and 
mental conflicts concerning the decisive 
step she had taken, wondered if she really 
loved her betrothed, and whether or not 
it might be well to break the engagement. 
One night she had the following dream : 

Dream. She seemed to be in a large 
house, partly clear and partly dimly rec- 
ognized ; her fiance was there, only in 
the dream he seemed to be her husband. 
Her mother-in-law was also present, knit- 
ting, and paid not the slightest attention 
to her. Then it seemed as though she came 
down-stairs with her hair disarranged and 
wearing a light dressing-gown. 

Analysis. This is a pretty example of 
a prophetic wish dream, which solved the 
situation which was baffling her and causing 
the perplexity in her waking life. In the 
dream, her mental conflict is cleared up, the 
problem has been solved for her by her 
secondary consciousness during sleep. In 
the dream, she felt thoroughly at home in 

148 



PROPHETIC DREAMS 

the house, although it did appear strange; 
no one noticed her, and yet her feehngs 
were not hurt or ruffled ; and she was able 
to go about clothed in a dressing-gown 
without the slightest embarrassment. Now 
this situation could only have taken place 
where there was great intimacy, and such 
intimacy could only have been brought 
about if she were a member of her fiance's 
family, that is, actually married to him. 
The dream is a wish dream of family in- 
timacy. Therefore, in spite of her doubts, 
she really wanted to marry this particular 
person, to become a member of his family. 
Her problems are solved in the dream; 
her real, unconscious wish has neutralized 
her perplexity and is fulfilled. But since 
the fulfillment can only be brought about 
in the future, the dream is prophetic only 
in the sense that her wish for a happy 
marriage is projected into the future and 
the perplexing situation solved, in the 
form of a dream. 

149 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

I cannot leave the subject of prophetic 
dreams without another example of practi- 
cal medical interest. A five-year-old boy 
had the following dream : 

Dream. A number of dogs came to the 
door of his house, and one little black dog 
actually knocked at the door. As he was 
coming up the steps, he grew larger and 
larger and was changed into a large and 
fierce white dog. Then he came up to the 
little boy and started to eat him, a procedure 
which was not objected to, because the little 
boy felt that he would not remain in thQ 
dog's mouth very long. 

This is a typical anxiety dream which 
often gives rise to nightmares in children. 
From this dream a temporary anxiety 
hysteria was predicted in the child, a ner- 
vous disturbance which actually took place 
a short time later. The boy became dis- 
satisfied because he did not care to live in 
the country ; he wanted the excitement of 
the city. His uncle, who was a physician, 

150 



PROPHETIC DREAMS 

lived in the city, and the boy had visited 
him shortly before the dream took place. 
Therefore a simulated illness which later 
took place, in which he claimed that he 
had an earache, pretended to cough, etc., 
were all for the purpose of again visiting 
his uncle. The symptoms completely dis- 
appeared within a few days, on advising 
the parents to use purposeful neglect of 
the child's complaints. 

The point which I wish to emphasize by 
this brief recital is this : that the morbid 
anxiety produced both the dream and 
hysteria ; both had the same mechanism, and 
from the dream it was possible to predict 
with a fair amount of certainty the onset of 
psychoneurotic symptoms. In fact, these 
symptoms were actually predicted at the 
time of the dream, and several days before 
the symptoms themselves had made their 
actual appearance. 

I am very skeptical concerning prophetic 
dreams which actually foretell the future. 

151 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

From a strictly scientific standpoint, such 
an interpretation would be very superficial 
in that it did not take into full cognizance 
all the complex factors which may produce 
a dream. For instance, it must be proven, 
in the analysis of such a dream, that the 
event "foretold" in the future never existed 
as a wish in either the conscious or uncon- 
scious thought of the dreamer. In my 
experience, I have yet failed to find such 
a genuine prophetic dream. 



152 



Chapter X 
Artificial Dreams 

BY an artificial dream is meant a 
dream which a person consciously 
makes up when requested to fabri- 
cate what he would consider to be a genuine 
dream. When these artificial dreams are 
analyzed, they will be found to contain the 
same mechanisms as genuine dreams, and 
behind them will be discovered identical un- 
conscious mental processes. In the analysis 
of such artificial dreams, the same wishes 
appear as in real dreams. How does this in- 
teresting process take place .^ How can a 
conscious imitation of a dream contain the 
same elusive and wish-fulfilling thoughts as 
a real dream .^ It is here that the theory 
of psychical determinism comes to our aid. 
It has been shown that there is no more 
room for chance in the mental world than 

153 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

there is in the physical world. The un- 
conscious and likewise the foreconscious 
exerts a persistent dynamic influence on 
our behavior, on the formation of com- 
plexes, in every element of our thoughts, 
in the actions of every-day life and in our 
dreams. Thus every conscious mental oc- 
currence bears a direct and causal relation 
to its unconscious or foreconscious source. 
For this reason, any series of thoughts or 
ideas given at random, any association or 
group of associations in the so-called free 
association procedures, are really not free, 
but are motivated or caused by unconscious 
or foreconscious mental processes. In 
sleep, this type of mental activity causes 
dreams ; during the day it produces reveries 
and symptomatic actions like slips of the 
tongue or pen. All reveries, like all dreams, 
are the fulfillment of wishes. The fore- 
conscious or unconscious can be brought 
into activity only by a wish or desire, and 
the realization of that wish in the thought 

154 



ARTIFICIAL DREAMS 

processes is either the night dream or the 
day re very. Sometimes this process of 
day-dreams is simple, sometimes it is highly 
dramatized, like the day-dream of the lover 
to have a quiet home and a happy family, 
or of the boy who wishes and at the same 
time identifies himself with the heroes of 
history or romance. 

Thus the revery, like the dream, results 
from the same motivating process, a simple 
or highly disguised wish, and in it can be 
found the same mechanisms as in dreams. 
The day-dream, too, may be called the mani- 
fest content of our latent or repressed wishes. 
Thus a revery is the product of an individual 
fantasy, sometimes voluntary, sometimes 
involuntary, but in either case not the prod- 
uct of chance or of logic. It differs from 
the genuine dream only in point of time, 
one taking place at night, the other during 
the day. This day-dreaming has been 
termed ''autistic thinking," and its chief 
characteristic is to represent desires im- 

155 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

possible of fulfillment in reality, as actually 
fulfilled in the imagination during the day. 
The symbolism of both dreams and autistic 
thinking has its roots in the unconscious ; 
it is not made or invented, it is only dis- 
covered by the analysis. As Bleuler states 
in his description of autistic thinking : ^ 

''Each of us has also his fairy tale. He 
does not indeed believe himself to live it; 
only when he is quite alone and his thoughts 
are let loose does it come to light. The man 
is then rich, attractive, healthy, and hand- 
some. He always chooses those advantages 
in which he is most hopelessly lacking. 
Directly reality gains .its sway, the play- 
thing will be thrust hastily back into the 
cupboard, where it is hidden, not only from 
strangers, but from the owner himself; 
for, once outside the dream, he is not at all 
aware how far he can really identify him- 
self with its characters. The cupboard 

*E. Bleuler, "Autistic Thinking," American Journal of Insanity, 
1914. 

156 



ARTIFICIAL DREAMS 

into which the toy is put is our own brain, 
and it never shuts tight. Without our 
noticing it, the imprisoned fairy very often 
stretches out a hand. She guides our taste 
in the choice of a tie, she guides our hand 
when we make the flourish to our signature. 
By our hearing, our voice, the choice of our 
phraseology, she shows the expert the trend 
of our aspirations." 

Thus in our reveries we can never wholly 
emancipate ourselves from our wishes and 
our ambitions, which are really our inner- 
most desires, and it is these wishes which 
make up our artificial dreams and give 
them the same mechanism and significance 
as the spontaneous dreams. For instance, 
a young woman who had a sense of timidity 
and inferiority, when asked to give an 
artificial dream, replied very significantly : 
''I can't make up a dream that is not what 
I'd like — I'd like to be a great orator and 
talk and hold an audience." Thus the 
day-dream expressed the fulfillment of her 

157 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

wishes, and these wishes were a kind of 
compensation for her own defects of 
character and her feeHng of inferiority. 

When a subject, therefore, is asked to 
fabricate a dream, that is, to produce an 
artificial dream by stating at random any 
thoughts which may come into his head, 
such a product is not the haphazard fantasy 
of his waking thoughts (because such a 
thing is impossible) but is motivated or 
produced by his conscious or unconscious 
wishes. For instance, on one occasion I 
requested a severe stammerer to fabricate 
a dream, and he immediately replied: "I 
dream that I am addressing a large audience 
without stammering." On another occa- 
sion, I asked a subject whose nervous dis- 
turbance had produced an outward im- 
pression of stupidity, to fabricate a dream, 
and the immediate answer was: "I dream 
that I am bright and alert." In both these 
instances the replies showed fulfillments of 
wishes, the same as in genuine dreams. 

158 



ARTIFICIAL DREAMS 

A highly intelKgent unmarried woman, 
who was undergoing the psycho-analytic 
treatment, at my request and in my pres- 
ence wrote the following artificial dreams. 
These are given verbatim with the outlines 
of the analysis of each dream, to explain 
the underlying wishes. 

Artificial Dream I. "Washing a little 
newly born baby in a wash bowl. There 
seems to be a woman in bed, not well enough 
to be up. Face is not distinct, but the hair 
is dark. The woman seems to be myself. 
The baby is taken out of the bowl and 
given to her to nurse. Then a tall, happy- 
looking, fair-haired man came to the door. 
He appears younger than she, and she is 
happy to see him." 

Analysis. Her wish for a happy mar- 
riage and motherhood is fulfilled in this 
artificial dream as a pure imaginative prod- 
uct, the same as the wish for motherhood 
appeared in a genuine symbolized dream 
a few nights previously. 

159 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

Artificial Dream II. "An enormous 
glass chandelier in a concert hall full of 
people. It is a vocal recital. I am on the 
stage singing." 

Analysis. She has always longed to 
sing in public, but her nervous disturbance 
(morbid fear) made such a thing impossible. 
This artificial dream therefore represents a 
fulfillment of her desire to sing in public 
freely and spontaneously. 

Artificial Dream III. "Interior of a 
Dutch house, and a Dutch housewife with 
a funny head-dress, making bread on a 
big board. There is a window at her 
right, and kitchen utensils are hung up 
on the wall. Bread then seems to be in 
pans. She is putting it in the oven, and 
as she turns around, a troop of from four 
to six children come in from school, and 
she greets them and runs around to get 
dinner for them." 

Analysis. The instigator of these 
dreams was a copy of The Necklace by 

160 



ARTIFICIAL DREAMS 

Vermeer of Delft which hung in my 
office. The dreamer had been in Holland 
and had recently been reading a book of 
travel about Holland. In this travel book, 
the father and mother were represented as 
travelling with their two children. The 
father knew Dutch history and so kept 
the children informed; the mother in the 
book seemed to know all about Dutch 
housekeeping. In this artificial dream she 
identifies herself with the mother and 
wishes that she were in the mother's place. 
Therefore, like the first artificial dream, 
this dream represents, in a somewhat differ- 
ent arrangement of material, a wish for 
motherhood and a happy home. 

Artificial Dream IV. " She seemed to 
be a young woman again, at college and 
walking on the campus with other girls." 

Analysis. A wish to be younger and 
to live her life over again. 

In all these artificial dreams, a desire or 
wish is actually fulfilled or realized; in 

161 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

fact, an idea which merely existed in the 
region of possibihty is here replaced by a 
vision or mental image of its accomplish- 
ment. Thus we have the same mechanism 
as in genuine dreams. 

Artificial dreams, like genuine dreams, 
have frequently interwoven within them 
childhood fantasies, such as the imagined 
family conflicts or romances of the child. 
This is particularly seen in the day-dreams 
of children and adults, both of which bear a 
strong relationship to hysterical fantasies. 
These day-dreams or reveries serve for the 
fulfillment of wishes and for the righting 
of the conflicts of life, both of which cannot 
be realized in actuality. They realize, in 
the imagination, either personal ambitions 
or erotic feelings. 

Experimental dreams, produced artifi- 
cially by hypnotic command, also substan- 
tiate many of the theories of Freud. For 
instance, in some experiments when the 
command was given to dream something 

162 



ARTIFICIAL DREAMS 

grossly sexual, the resulting dream ex- 
pressed the sexual idAs, not literally, 
but in a symbolized form, thus proving 
experimentally that the censor was at work, 
and the dream consisted of the formation 
of a manifest from a latent content. These 
and other experiments have demonstrated 
that the unconscious complexes determine 
for the main part the character of our 
dreams, and that this unconscious is capable 
of a symbolization of our latent thoughts. 



163 



Chapter XI 
Dreams and Nervous Diseases 

THE dream is not only of theoretical 
interest in elucidating certain prob- 
lems of abnormal psychology and 
of the unconscious in particular, but it 
stands in the center of the psycho-analytic 
treatment of the neuroses. It is this 
psycho-analytic treatment which repre- 
sents the latest and most logical advance 
ever made in medicine in the treatment of 
certain functional nervous disturbances. 
Psycho-analysis is not suggestion. Sug- 
gestion merely removes certain symptoms 
temporarily, psycho-analysis permanently, 
by eliminating the unconscious ideas or 
complexes which caused the psychoneurotic 
disturbance. The fundamental condition 
and therefore a complete understanding of 

164 



DREAMS AND NERVOUS DISEASES 

the reason for a psyehoneurosis can never be 
reached by suggestion. 

The term psycho-analysis is appHed to 
that particular form of treatment and in- 
vestigation of the neuroses as first elabo- 
rated by Freud, whose object is to remove 
the unconscious sources of the individual's 
nervous disturbance. The treatment is 
generally applied to relieve that class of 
nervous sufferers presenting such symptoms 
as obsessions, morbid fears, and compul- 
sive thoughts and acts, often out of har- 
mony with the person's training and char- 
acter. It is also helpful in clearing up 
many personal peculiarities in those who 
are not actually nervously diseased. 

For instance, children quickly learn to 
repress certain sensuous and anti-social 
tendencies, and as adult life is reached, 
there is an inclination to preserve these 
inwardly but very actively, as a hidden 
source of certain pleasures and abnormal 
cravings. We all of us thus lead double 

165 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

lives, and without definitely passing into the 
realm of the pathologic, we are all more or 
less double personalities, i.e. : our veneer or 
false disguise of outward social conventions 
and our true inward, unconscious selves, 
with our repressions carried over from child- 
hood, our abnormal cravings and savage 
instincts, our constant fight against tempta- 
tion, and our occasional yielding to it, if not 
actually because of a strong moral sense, at 
least inwardly in our reveries during the day 
and in our dreams at night. Thus, a highly 
refined and cultured man once dreamed 
of killing his stepson, because the mother 
actually paid more attention to him than 
she did to her husband. Culture and re- 
finement had repressed the wish which 
was fulfilled in the dream, a proof of the 
primitive instinct of jealous rage which 
the dreamer had carried over from his in- 
fantile thinking. It is these repressions, 
this unconscious personality, which often 
crops out in the dreams of the normal in- 

166 



DREAMS AND NERVOUS DISEASES 

dividual as well as those who are nervously- 
sick. Well does Shakespeare, with the 
intuitive insight of a great poet, make 
the doctor say in Macbeth, referring to 
the sleep-walking of Lady Macbeth : 

" Infected minds 
To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets." 

Psycho-analysis is the only form of the in- 
vestigation of the neuroses which explains 
why certain symptoms occur, as in the past 
physicians have been too prone to interpret 
nervous symptoms, particularly the peculiar 
and contradictory behavior of hysterical 
patients, as a form of inexplicable stubborn- 
ness. Furthermore, the analytic investi- 
gation of the symptoms not only gives both 
patient and physician an insight into the 
nervous disease, but this investigation 
also acts as the treatment itself, that is, 
the repressed feelings are set free, and 
with this liberation, the symptoms gradu- 
ally disappear. In the individual, repres- 
sion is a moral function ; in the masses or 

167 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

in the race, it is a social function. When a 
mental conflict arises between our individ- 
ual repressed impulses and our moral, 
ethical, or religious censorship, we have a 
neurosis in the form of an obsession, com- 
pulsive ideas, hysterical or anxiety or 
psychasthenic states or fluctuations in 
mood, either an abnormal exaltation or an 
abnormal depression. When the mental 
conflict takes place among the masses, we 
have the various types of social aggression, 
which tend to upset the equilibrium of 
civilization and lead to various grades of 
industrial revolutions or to such bloody 
cataclysms as the French Revolution. 

These repressed thoughts lie in the un- 
conscious, and since the dream represents 
the most direct road for the investigation 
and understanding of the unconscious, the 
dream becomes the most potent instrument 
in the removal of symptoms arising from 
the repressed emotions in the unconscious 
mental life. No one, however healthy 

168 



DREAMS AND NERVOUS DISEASES 

minded or nervously unstrung, no one, 
no matter how frank or sincere, can know 
his unconscious thoughts. They only come 
to the surface in symptomatic actions, such 
as slips of the tongue or pen which are 
motivated by unconscious feelings, or in 
dreams. In the dream, fragments of the 
unconscious mental life, but disguised and 
symbohzed and distorted out of all pro- 
portion to their natural semblance, come 
to the surface in the mind of the sleeper, 
and it is only by a knowledge of the science 
of psycho-analysis and of its technical 
methods that these fragments of the un- 
conscious can be interpreted and under- 
stood. The dream then gives us the key 
to the unconscious thoughts which are 
persistently creating the patient's symp- 
toms, which make and keep him nervously 
ill, and therefore dream-analysis becomes 
the most important method in that form 
of psychotherapy known as the psycho- 
analytic treatment. 

169 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

Since the unconscious possesses only one 
function, — wishing or desiring, — both 
dreams and neurotic symptoms thus be- 
come symboHc or Uteral wish fulfillments. 
Paradoxical as it may seem, something is 
gained by the hysterical symptoms, as in the 
case of hysterical bhndness which will be 
described and analyzed later in the course 
of this chapter. Of course, this feeling of 
gaining something is an unconscious mental 
process, of which the symptoms are merely 
the fulfillment in a disguised form. Hys- 
terical symptoms are wish fulfillments sym- 
bolized, exactly like dreams. 

Through a mental mechanism which 
cannot be discussed here, because it would 
involve too many technicalities, the re- 
pressed, unconscious thoughts are frequently 
converted into the symbolic, physical symp- 
toms of the hysteric. For instance, in the 
case of a woman who had double vision 
due to hysteria (that is, all objects appeared 
double to her), it could be shown on an- 

170 



DREAMS AND NERVOUS DISEASES 

alysis that this double vision was not an 
accidental occurrence, but actually bore a 
strong, causal relationship to her hysterical 
mental state. 

This double vision appeared almost im- 
mediately after an emotional shock, when 
she found that her husband had been un- 
faithful to her. It immediately flashed 
across her mind that her husband was lead- 
ing a " double life " (her own expression), and 
a more detailed analysis demonstrated that 
this idea was symbohzed by seeing objects 
double. In fact, after the emotional shock, 
she first saw her husband double, and it was 
only later that this doubling spread to other 
objects. In her dreams, too, all objects 
appeared double, thus proving that the 
double vision was not due, as in most cases, 
to an organic affection of the eye muscles, 
but in this particular case had a psychical 
origin and was a symbolization of the 
woman's conception of her husband. In- 
deed, when she first saw her husband double, 

171 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

there was associated a great anxiety and 
fear of losing him through his unfaithful- 
ness, and therefore the double vision was 
at first a reinforcement of a wish to retain 
her husband's affections, and only later did 
it symbolize his double life. Thus this 
symptom, in its symbolization, condensa- 
tion, and wish fulfillment, like every hysteri- 
cal symptom, bore a striking resemblance 
to the structure of a dream. 

Since inversely, too, the formation and 
structure of a dream bears an extraordinary 
resemblance to an hysterical symptom, 
dreams are very valuable for exploring 
the unconscious mind of the hysterical. 
An hysterical symptom is a repressed wish 
attempting to find an outlet; a dream is 
a repressed wish in which the outlet is taking 
place in the process of dreaming. Both are 
symbolized wishes, and both can be under- 
stood only through psycho-analysis. 

Stammering, also, is frequently a symbol 
of an unconscious mental process, the 

172 



DREAMS AND NERVOUS DISEASES 

speech defect arising in an effort to conceal 
a repressed thought or idea, often an idea 
of an unpleasant or shameful nature which 
continually tends to obtrude itself in con- 
sciousness. Like a slip of the tongue, 
stammering is not accidental, but is moti- 
vated or caused by an unconscious mental 
process of which the sufferer is not a ware. ^ 
The following case demonstrates how the 
study of the dreams of an individual not 
only gave an insight into the mechanism 
of that individual's nervous disease, but 
likewise furnished the material for the 
successful cure of the condition. The case 
in question refers to a condition of hysteri- 
cal blindness in a little girl of eleven.^ In 
this case it could be shown that childhood 
hysteria, like adult hysteria, has the same 
mechanisms, in that the hysterical symp- 

* Isador H. Coriat, "Stammering as a Psychoneurosis," Journal 
of Abnormal Psychology, vol. IX, no. 6, 1915. 

2 For a complete report of this case, the reader is referred to my 
paper on "Some Hysterical Mechanisms in Children," Journal 
of Abnormal Psychology, vol. IX, nos. 2-3. 1914. 

173 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

toms expressed the fulfillment, often sym- 
bolic, of a repressed wish, exactly the 
same process which takes place in the dreams 
of normal individuals. Thus an under- 
standing of the psychology of dreams fur- 
nishes us with the data necessary for the 
understanding of hysteria. In children, 
however, the mental processes are much more 
simple than those of adults, and conse- 
quently their dreams and hysterical symp- 
toms are far less complicated; in fact, as 
previously pointed out,^ they are literal 
fulfillments of undisguised wishes. 

The little girl lost her eyesight within 
a period of a few weeks, becoming almost 
completely blind. A complete examina- 
tion of the eyes and the nervous system 
revealed the fact that there was no evi- 
dence of any organic disease. The condi- 
tion was therefore interpreted as purely 
functional, a form of hysterical blindness, 
particularly since the child showed other 

* See chapter VTI, Dreams of Children. 
174 



DREAMS AND NERVOUS DISEASES 

evidences of hysteria, such as a nervous 
cough, hysterical convulsions, and an in- 
ability to feel touch and pain over one 
entire side of the body. 

In order to understand the mechanism 
of this hysterical blindness, it was deter- 
mined to undertake a study of the little 
girl's dreams as offering the readiest means 
of access to her unconscious mental con- 
flicts and wishes. In this I was fortunate 
in securing the intelligent co-operation of 
the little patient's mother. The following 
dreams were recorded. The dream in- 
stigator as ascertained follows each dream 
in parenthesis. 

Dream I. She was chasing her pet 
squirrel around the house, and it also ap- 
peared as if the squirrel chased her. (She 
has a pet squirrel.) 

Dream II. The house took fire, and all 
the family were saved except her baby 
brother (eighteen months old), who was 
burned up. (The chimney had recently 

175 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

been cleaned out, because the family feared 
it would catch fire.) 

Dream III. She was coming from a 
moving-picture show with her mother and 
her younger brother S. (age nine), and her 
elder sister O. (age thirteen) . Then she saw 
a man in a near-by store, and because she 
felt he had no right there, as the store was 
closed, she called up the proprietress of 
the store, telling her that she would guard 
it. She remained near the store and sent 
her mother and the other two children 
home. (She had recently been to a mov- 
ing-picture performance.) 

Dream IV. She and her brother (S., 
age nine) were coming down the street, 
and through a crack in the board-walk she 
saw a penny, and she stooped to pick it 
up. Then she saw pennies all around, and 
she filled her pockets full. Then a man 
came and shot her brother S. and killed 
him, and she felt badly. Then the man 
also shot at her, but merely frightened her. 

176 



DREAMS AND NERVOUS DISEASES 

Dream V. Her baby brother G. was 
missing. He had run away and gone up 
to church, and she started to run after him, 
and then he turned and ran into a snow- 
drift and disappeared. 

Dream VI. She and her three-year- 
old brother (R.) and a httle girl playmate, 
B., were sliding down hill with their sleds. 
Finally R. ran into a snowdrift and dis- 
appeared, and B. and she ran on and left 
him there. (The instigator of these last 
two dreams was frequent coasting with 
her sled.) 

Dream VII. She was visiting B. with 
her father and was riding through the sub- 
way. 

Dream VIII. She was in school, happy, 
studying her lessons, and with all her 
schoolmates. 

In analyzing this series of dreams, their 
simple character, undistorted by symboli- 
zation, stands out prominently. Then, too, 
nearly every dream could be found to be 

177 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

instigated either by some happening during 
the day or by some mental conflict of the 
nature of an unfulfilled wish, the wish, how- 
ever, becoming completely fulfilled in the 
dream. It was found also that all the 
dreams represented unfulfilled conscious 
and unconscious wishes which were re- 
pressed during the day. 

The instigators of some of these dreams, 
so far as could be demonstrated, have al- 
ready been given in parenthesis at the 
end of each dream. Although the dream 
instigators were harmless enough, yet the 
content of each dream represented the ful- 
filling of important repressed childhood 
wishes, relating principally to family con- 
flicts and jealousies, particularly toward 
her younger brothers and sisters. This is 
not at all surprising when we remember 
that the feelings of most children for 
their younger brothers and sisters is far 
from being altogether one of affection. In 
fact, there is a feehng of rivalry and jealousy 

178 



DREAMS AND NERVOUS DISEASES 

toward the younger ones of the family, 
particularly if these younger members in 
any way hinder or interfere with the child's 
play activities. 

Thus the child is an egoist; it has little 
or no altruistic or family feelings. It sees 
in its elders an oppressor and interprets 
the younger members of the family as 
rivals for the parental love which it feels 
should be showered on it alone. This 
rivalry is not only seen in the love of the 
son for the mother and of the daughter 
for the father, but likewise in the relation- 
ship between brothers and sisters, partic- 
ularly if they happen to be younger. The 
child not only wishes its younger rivals 
dead (or out of sight, which is synonymous 
for the child), but if this rival in any way 
interferes with its activities, the wish for 
its death or disappearance is actually ful- 
filled in the dream. Sometimes the wish 
in very young children is clearly indicated 
in their speech; in other older children 

179 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

the wish is suppressed. For instance, a 
Httle boy of my acquaintance, when asked 
if he loved a new arrival in the shape of a 
little brother, replied that he would "throw 
him down the elevator well", and later 
showed his disgust with him by saying: 
"He can't talk or anything." Freud's 
case of Hans, too, showed his coolness 
toward a new arrival by stating that "He 
had no teeth." Facts such as these, in 
the form of conscious jealousy associated 
with an unconscious wish to put the younger 
member of the family aside, could be elicited 
in our case. 

For some period the little patient had 
shown a jealousy of her younger brothers 
and sisters, and at times, particularly at 
Christmas, she accused her father and 
mother of "speaking more about their 
presents" (referring to the younger chil- 
dren) "than of mine." She is apt to feel 
badly also, unless her mother takes her to 
entertainments to the exclusion of the other 

180 



DREAMS AND NERVOUS DISEASES 

children. Toward her baby brother, who 
was eighteen months old at the time the 
hysterical blindness began, she has shown 
a certain amount of ambivalence,^ in that 
during her waking moments she reiterated 
her love for him, whereas she systemati- 
cally wished him out of the way in her 
dreams. 

The child's first difficulty with the eye- 
sight occurred while she was at school. 
Her mother had been away for several 
weeks, and during her mother's absence 
the maid suddenly left the house. Thus 
there devolved upon her the partial care 
of the house and also of the younger chil- 
dren. She resented this added labor, as it 
interfered with her play activities, and this 
feeling was accentuated by the added 
jealousy towards her younger brothers, 
which she had displayed in times past. 

1 A term applied in psycho-analysis which gives the same idea 
two contrary feelings, such as hating and loving or repulsion and 
attraction, or which invests the same thought simultaneously 
with both a positive and negative character. 

181 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

Her nine-year-old brother S. plays with 
another boy about his own age, and this 
also made her jealous, as she wished to 
play with the boy alone. The play activi- 
ties of children frequently have an associ- 
ated erotic component, such as in swinging 
and in muscular activity. Out of this 
mental attitude of jealousy and of what 
she considered an interference with her 
play activities, she developed the idea (a 
wish) that if she were ill, the added family 
labor would be taken away from her, and 
thus she would be free to play again. Thus 
the purposeful mental action arose, some- 
thing would be gained by a conversion of 
this wish into blindness, so as not to see 
her surroundings and the children. How- 
ever, the blindness was not a selected one, 
directed to the younger children alone, 
but also comprised her school and play 
activities in such a manner that she could 
not see to read the fairy stories of which 
she was fond, the blackboard at school, 

182 



DREAMS AND NERVOUS DISEASES 

or her normal outdoor sports. That is, 
her converted wish defeated her own ends, 
the bHndness became general, and she 
was, so to speak, ''hoisted with her own 
petard." 

After the mechanism of her blindness 
as a converted wish became understood 
through the dream analysis, it was this 
mechanism which furnished the hints for 
the psychotherapy and, therefore, cure of 
the condition. The child was taken out 
of school and not allowed to play or read, 
and meanwhile a promise was held out to 
her that she would again be allowed to 
play, read, and return to school as soon as 
her eyesight was better. The dreams fur- 
nished strong evidence of this persistent 
wish to resume her school and play activi- 
ties, and it was on the basis of the dreams 
that the psychotherapy was carried out. 
By the use of this simple and logical method, 
when the child, who was quite intelligent, 
saw that nothing further was to be gained 

183 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

by her blindness, since it defeated its own 
ends by being total and not selective, the 
vision gradually became normal. The 
symptom of blindness by this simple 
psychotherapeutic method not only dis- 
appeared, but the converted wish that was 
lying at the bottom of her hysteria like- 
wise vanished. 

Thus this little girl's hysteria resulted 
from a struggle between her conscious 
feelings and her unconscious wishes, with 
the result that the latter gained the upper 
hand, leading to the hysterical blindness. 
Like many hysterical patients, paradoxical 
as it may seem, she gained something by 
being nervously ill, in this case the gain 
being a rehef from household drudgery 
which would follow if she could not see 
what to do. Every dream, like every 
hysterical symptom, is a gain, a wish ful- 
filled. 

For instance, an important and distress- 
ing symptom of many functional nervous 

184 



DREAMS AND NERVOUS DISEASES 

disturbances is the feeling of unreality, 
in which the surroundings appear far off, 
like looking through the wrong end of an 
opera glass, vague, and dream-like, in which 
it seems as if the individual were partially 
or completely cut off from the physical uni- 
verse. These unreality feelings frequently 
arise because the subject finds that reality 
is too painful to bear, because he feels that 
he cannot struggle successfully with the 
perplexities of life. Consequently the sub- 
ject comes to live in an ideal, dream world 
of his own making and building, where 
everything is set to right, and where there 
are no difficulties and struggles. This ideal 
world is really the land of his heart's desire, 
and so calm is it, so safe does he feel, that 
he finally chooses the world of his own 
ideas rather than the world of physical 
reality. Thus the unreality gains the upper 
hand and finally dominates the personality. 
The neurotic thus comes to live within 
himself or rather within the unreality of his 

185 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

neurosis. The inherent factor, the real 
mechanism at the bottom of every neurosis, 
is a mental conflict. It follows from this that 
although there may be a congenital disposi- 
tion to nervousness, no one of us is born with 
a nervous disease, but we acquire it as a 
result of a maladaptation to surroundings, 
of not adequately meeting the issues of 
life, or from our repressed emotions and 
mental conflicts. In many nervous dis- 
turbances, there is a withdrawal from the 
world of reality and from the issues and 
conflicts of life, which are all evaded by 
first consciously living in a world of pain- 
less unreality from which these issues are 
absent and which finally gains the upper 
hand. 

Psycho-analysis as carried out through a 
study of the dreams is of value not only in 
the nervously sick, but in the normal in- 
dividual as well. It enables us to know our 
own weaknesses and prejudices, the causes 
of our successes or failures, our repressions, 

186 



DREAMS AND NERVOUS DISEASES 

vague fears, and superstitions, and to point 
out the path for the remedying of these 
mental and moral and ethical defects. 
Freud states concerning this point: 

"Whoever has had the opportunity of 
studying the concealed psychic feelings of 
persons by means of psycho-analysis can 
also tell something new concerning the 
quality of unconscious motives which ex- 
press themselves in superstition. Nervous 
persons afflicted with compulsive thinking 
and compulsive states, who are often very 
intelligent, show very plainly that supersti- 
tion originates from repressed hostile and 
cruel impulses. The greater part of super- 
stition signifies fear of impending evil, and 
he who has frequently wished evil to others, 
but because of a good bringing up has re- 
pressed the same into the unconscious, will 
be particularly apt to expect punishment for 
such unconscious evil in the form of a mis- 
fortune threatening him from without." ^ 

1 "Psychopathology of Everyday Life." p. 311. 
187 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

As an example, a neurotic man, whom I 
had the occasion to psycho-analyze, one 
day, in the course of treatment, brought me 
the two following dreams : 

Dream 1. He seemed to be running an 
elevator, and with him was a man whose 
foot became caught between the elevator 
and the well, as the former was ascending, 
but nevertheless he kept on running the 
elevator. 

Dream 2. He seemed to be talking 
with a man and then started to mount the 
seat of a wagon, and as he did so, the man 
reached the seat before him, as if to steal 
the horse and wagon. Thereupon, in a 
manner which was not altogether clear in 
the dream, he toppled the wagon over, and 
it then seemed as if the wagon were full of 
iron bars. These fell upon the man and 
pinioned him down, and he stood on top of 
the pile and called for the police. 

Apparently these two dreams were mean- 
ingless, except that they showed a wish on 

188 



DREAMS AND NERVOUS DISEASES 

the part of the subject to bring injury and 
disaster to each man. It developed that 
he dishked the man in the first dream for 
his arrogance, while the man in the second 
dream he had known ever since both were 
little boys. This latter person once threw 
a stone and struck the subject on the back 
of the head, and since then he had 
often thought that this head injury may 
have been responsible for his nervous dis- 
turbance. Hence the scheme of revenge 
in both cases and the repressed wish that 
evil might befall each, although this wish 
was only fulfilled in the dream and never 
in reality. In the course of the analysis, 
it developed that the subject was very 
superstitious. He would not cross a funeral 
procession but would wait for the procession 
to pass, because he felt if he did so that he 
would develop some mental trouble. Walk- 
ing under a ladder always signified to him 
that bad luck would follow. Sometimes, 
in order to prove to himself that he was not 

189 



THE MEANING OF DREAMS 

superstitious (a kind of a defence reaction), 
he would purposely, for instance, sit at a 
table making thirteen or laugh at people 
who wouldn't do so, yet all the time feeling 
that evil or death would overtake him. 
Thus his superstitious fear of impending 
evil arose because he wished disaster would 
happen to others, not consciously so, but 
repressed into the unconscious and only 
appearing in his dreams. The fear of evil 
happening to him was therefore a reversal 
of his repressed wish that evil might hap- 
pen to others. 

The end of all psycho-analysis is two- 
fold : first, to educate the patient to become 
an independent personality by directly 
freeing him from his neurosis and therefore 
from his infantile limitations, so that when 
the dependence of the physician is cut off, 
the patient can be put on his own feet, so 
to speak ; and secondly, to relieve the re- 
pressed emotions so that they may be in- 
dulged in freely and unhampered, partly 

190 



DREAMS AND NERVOUS DISEASES 

by conscious control and partly by con- 
ducting those emotions to a higher and less 
objectionable goal. This last process is 
termed sublimation, and if properly carried 
out in the hands of a skilled psycho-analyst, 
the repressed instincts become unchained 
and thereby can no longer produce a neu- 
rosis, and the conflict between repression 
and the attempt on the part of the individ- 
ual to find an outlet for the repression, 
which is the process that causes the nervous 
malady, disappears. 

It is the dream which guides us into the 
patient's unconscious, repressed emotions; 
it is through the dream, too, that the final 
sublimation, the freeing from the neurosis, 
is reached. 



THE END 



191 



INDEX 



Ambivalence, 181. 
Anxiety Dreams, 87-92, 

150-151. 
Artificial Dreams, 153-162. 
Autistic Thinking, 155-157. 

Bleuler, E., 156-157. 
BriU, A. A., 23. 

Carroll, Lewis, 36. 
Censor, 33-34, 81-95. 
Condensation of Dreams, 

30, 69-72. 
Content of Dreams, 67- 

69. 
Content, latent, 30, 68. 
Content, manifest, 30, 68. 
Coriat, I. H., 23, 62, 92, 

101, 107, 118, 128, 173. 



Dream Motives, 38-39. 
Dream, Protective Fmic- 

tion of, 96-97, 103-105. 
Dream Work, 39, 73. 
Dreams and Character, 5-d. 
Dreams and Hysteria, 103- 

104, 172. 
Dreams, History of, 8-11. 
Dreams of Children, 106- 

115. 
Dreams of Death, 124- 

128. 
Dreams of Indians, 116- 

120. 
Dreams within Dreams, 74- 

79. 



Elaboration of Dreams, 

73-74. 
Electra-Complex, 114. 
Determinism in Mental Experimental Dreams, 162- 
Processes, 19-23, 153- 163. 

155. 
DeVries, H., 11. 
Displacement in Dreams, 

30, 72-73. 
Dramatization of Dreams, 

73. 
Dream Analysis, Example 
of, 13-42. 



Flying Dreams, 133-135. 
Freud, S., 2, 6, 9, 23-24, 

42, 44, 111, 141-142, 

144-145, 187. 
Furlong, Charles W., 116. 



Grubb, W. B., 117. 



193 



INDEX 



Hysteria, 170-172. 
Hysteria in Children, 173- 
184. 

Insomnia, Psycho-ana- 
lytic Treatment of, 
101-103. 

Instigators of Dreams, 29. 

Mechanism of Dreams, 

66-67. 
Mendel, G., 11. 
Mental Conflicts, 168. 
Myths and Dreams, 135- 

138. 

Nakedness Dreams, 122- 

124, 130-132. 
New England Conscience, 

64-65. 

(Edipus-Complex, 113, 

127-130. 
Over-determination, 41. 

Prophetic Dreams, 141- 

152. 
Psycho-analysis, 164-169. 
Psycho-analysis of Normal 

Individuals, 186-190. 
Psycho-analysis, Object of, 
191. 



Reinforcement m 

Dreams, 74. 
Repression, 81-94, 165-167. 
Resistance, 58, 86. 

Sexual Dreams, 79-80. 
Sleep, 101. 

Stammering, 172-173. 
Stevenson, R. L., 109- 

110. 
Sublimation, 191. 
Superstition, 187. 
Symbolic Thinking, 139- 

140. 
Symbolism of Dreams, 79- 

81. 

Taylor, H. O., 140. 
Typical Dreams, 121-135. 

Unconscious, 4, 57. 
Unconscious, Barbaric Na- 

turelof, 62. 
Unconscious in Dreams, 

58-59. 
Unreality, Feeling of, 184- 

186. 

Wish Conflicts, 49. 
Wish, Definition of, 48. 
Wishes in Dreams, 44-56. 
Wit, 6. 



194 



MIND AND HEALTH SERIES 



A series of medical handbooks written by eminent specialists 
and edited by H. Addington Bruce and designed to present 
the results of recent research and clinical experience in a form in- 
telligible to the lay public and medical profession. 

Human Motives. By James Jackson Putnam, M.D., Pro- 
fessor Emeritus, Diseases of the Nervous System, Harvard Uni- 
versity, Consulting Neurologist, Massachusetts General Hospital, 
Boston. i2mo. $i.oo net. 

The Meaning of Dreams. By Isador H. Coriat, M.D., First 
Assistant Visiting Physician, Nervous Diseases, Boston City Hos- 
pital. i2mo. $1.00 net. 

Sleep and Sleeplessness. By H. Addington Bruce, A.M. 

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Fear and Its Consequences. By Boris Sidis, M.D., Director 
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shire. 

Alcoholism, Its Causes and Its Cures. By Samuel McComb, 
D.D., Director Emmanuel Alcoholic Clinic, Boston. 

Insanity and Its Prevention. By M. S. Gregory, M.D., 
Resident Alienist, Bellevue Hospital, New York. 

Morbid Dreads. By A. A. Brill, M.D., Chief of CHnic in 
Psychiatry and Clinical Assistant in Neurology, Columbia Uni- 
versity. 

The Influence of Joy. By George V. N. Dearborn, M.D., 
Professor of Physiology, Tufts College Medical and Dental 
Schools. 

LITTLE, BROWN, & CO., Publishers, BOSTON